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DEVLIN THE BARBER 



BY 



B. L. FARJEON, 

AUTHOR OF "THK NINE OF HEARTS," "GREAT PORTER SQUARE, 
ETC. ETC. 



FOURTH EDITION, 



LONDON: 
WARD AND DOWNEY, 

12 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEJJ. 

[All rights reserved.'] 
1888. 



CONTENTS. 



Introduction. — In which reference is made to a strange, un- 
fathomable being, through whose instrumentality 
an awful mystery was solved .... 

^Chap. I. In which an account is given of the good fortune 
which befell Mr. Melladew 



II. I am the recipient of terrible news .... J) 

III. A shoal of visitors — followed by another mystery . 14 

IV. Mr. Richard Portland makes a singular proposition 

. to me 22 

V. I pay a visit to Mrs. Lemon ..... 28 
VI. I am haunted by three evil-looking objects in Mrs. 

Lemon's room ...... 82 

VII. Devlin's first introduction into the mystery . . 39 
-VIII. I make the acquaintance of George Carton's guardian, 

Mr. Kenneth Dowsett 43 

IX. Fanny Lemon relates under what circumstances she 

resolved to let her second floor front ... 60 
X. Devlin the Barber takes Fanny's first floor front . 65 
XI. Devlin performs some wonderful tricks, fascinates 
Mr. Lemon, and strikes terror to the soul of 
Fanny Lemon ...... 59 

xiT. Fanny Lemon relates how her husband, after becom- 
ing better acquainted with Devlin the Barber, 
seemed to be haunted by shadows and spirits . 65 

XIII. In which Fanny narrates how her husband had a fit, 

and what the doctor thought of it . . . 74 

XIV. Devlin appears suddenly, and holds a conversation 

with Fanny about the murder .... 79 



CONTENTS. iii 

CHAP, PAGE 

XV. Fanny describes how she made up her mind what to 

do with Lemon ...... 84 

XVI. Mr. Lemon wakes up . . . , , .87 

XVII. Lemon's vision in the " Twisted Cow " . . .93 

XVIII. Fanny's story being concluded, I pay a visit to Mr 

Lemon, and resolve to interview Devlin the 

Barber. ...... 



XIX. Face to face with Devlin, I demand an explanation 

of him . . 

XX. Devlin astonishes me . . . 
XXI. Devlin and I make a compact 
XXII. I send Devlin's desk to my wife, and smoke 
fragrant cigar ..... 

XXIII. I pass a morning in Devlin's place of business 

XXIV. Mr. Kenneth Dowsett gives me the sHp 

XXV. We follow in pursuit ..... 

XXVI. Another strange and unexpected discovery 
XXVII. We track Mr. Kenneth Dowsett to Boulogne . 
XXVIII. Tlie trance and the revelation 
XXIX. The rescue ...... 

XXX. Devlin's last scheme ..... 



98 

101 
106 
116 

124 
132 
140 
147 
159 
165 
173 
178 
183 




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DEVLIN THE BARBER 



INTRODUCTION. 

IN WHICH EEFERENCE IS MADE TO A STRANGE, UNFATHOM- 
ABLE BEING THROUGH WHOSE INSTRUMENTALITY AN 
AWFUL MYSTERY WAS SOLVED. 

The manner in which I became intimately associated with 
a fearful mystery with which not only all London but all 
England was ringing, and the strange, inexplicable Being 
whom the course of events brought to my knowledge, are 
so startling and wonderful, that I have grown to believe 
that by no effort of the imagination, however wild and 
bewildering the labyrinths into which it may lead a man, 
can the actual realism of our everyday life be outrivalled. 
What I am about to narrate is absolutely true — somewhat 
of an unnecessary statement, for the reason that human 
fancy could never have invented it. To a person unfamiliar 
with the wondrous life of a great city like London the 
story may appear impossible, but there are thousands of 
men and women who will immediately recognise in it 
features with which they became acquainted through the 
columns of the newspapers. I venture to say that the 
leading incident by which one morning — it was but yestbr- 
day — the great city was thrilled and horrified can never be 
entirely effaced from their memories. Dark crimes and 

B 



2 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

deeds of heroism, in which the incidents are pathetic or 
pitiful, draw even strangers into sympathetic relation with 
each other. These events come home to us, as it were. 
What happened to one whose face we have never seen, 
whose hand we have never grasped, may happen to us who 
move in the same familiar grooves of humanity. Our hopes 
and fears, our joys and sorrows, our duties and temptations, 
are the same, because we are human ; and it is this com- 
mon tie of kinship that will cause the story of Devlin the 
Barber to be received with more than ordinary interest. 
Now, for the first time is revealed, in these pages, the 
strange manner in which the fearful mystery in which it 
was enshrouded was unravelled. The facts are as I shall 
relate them, and whatever the impression they may create, 
a shuddering curiosity must inevitably be aroused as to the 
nature and movements of the inscrutable Being through 
whose instrumentality I was made the agent in revealing 
what would otherwise have remained for ever hidden from 
human knowledge. By a few incredulous persons — I refer 
to those to whom nothing spiritual is demonstrable — the 
existence of this Being may be doubted ; but none the less 
does he live and move among us this very day, pursuing his 
mission with a purpose and to an end which it is not in the 
power of mortal insight to fathom. It is not unlikely that 
some of my readers may have come unconsciously in contact 
with him within the last few hours. 



CHAPTER I. 

IN WHICH AN ACCOUNT IS GIVEN OF THE GOOD FORTUNE 
WHICH BEFELL MR. MELLADEW. 

I AM a struggling man — the phrase will be well under- 
stood, for the class to which I belong is a large one — and 
I rspide in a neighbourhood which is neither very poor not 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 3 

very fashionable. I have, of course, my friends and 
acquaintances, and among the most intimate of the former 
is a family of the name of Melladew. 

Mr. Melladew is a reader in a printing-office in which a 
weekly newspaper is printed. Mrs. Melladew, with the 
assistance of one small servant, manages the home. They 
had two daughters, twins, eighteen years of age, named 
respectively Mary and Elizabeth. These girls were very 
beautiful, and were so much alike that they were frequently 
mistaken for one another. Mrs. Melladew has told me 
that when they were very young she was compelled to make 
some distinguishing mark in their dress to avoid confusion 
in her recognition of them, such as differently coloured socks 
or pieces of ribbon. The home of the Melladews was a 
happy one, and the sisters loved each other sincerely. 
They were both in outdoor employment, in the establish- 
ments of a general linendraper and a fashionable dressmaker. 
Mary was in the employment of the linendraper — Limbird's, 
in Eegent Street. It is a firm of wide repute, and employs 
a great number of hands, some of whom sleep in the house. 
This was the case with Mary Melladew, who went to her 
work on Monday morning and did not return home until 
Saturday night. Elizabeth, or Lizzie as she was always 
called, was employed by Madame Michel, in Baker Street. 
She went to her work at half-past eight every morning and 
returned home at half-past seven every night. 

The printing-office in which Mr. Melladew is engaged 
employs two readers, a night reader and a day reader. 
Mr. Melladew is the day reader, his hours being from nine 
in the morning till seven in the evening. But on Satur- 
days he has a much longer spell ; he is due in the office at 
eight in the morning, and he remains until two or three 
hours past midnight — a stretch of eighteen or nineteen 
hours. By that time all the work for the Sunday edition 
of the weekly newspaper is done, and the outside pages 
are being worked off on the steam presses. 

Now, upon the Saturday morning on which, bo far as I 



4 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

am concerned, the enthralling interest of my story com- 
mences, certain important events had occurred in my career 
and in that of Mr. Melladew. Exactly one month previous 
to that day, the firm in which I had been employed for a 
great many years had given me a month's notice to leave. 
My dismissal was not caused by any lapse of duty on my 
part ; it was simply that business had been for some time 
in a bad state, and that my employers found it necessary to 
reduce their stafi". Among those who received notice to 
quit, I, unfortunately, was included. Therefore, when I 
rose on Saturday morning I was in the dismal position of a 
man out of work, my time having expired on the day before. 
This was of serious importance to me. With Mr. Mella- 
dew the case was different. In what unexpectedly occun-ed 
to him there was bright sunshine, to be succeeded by black 
darkness. 

He had visited me on the Friday night, and I per- 
ceived at once that he was in a state of intense and plea- 
surable excitement. 

" I have come to tell you some good news," he said. 

For a moment I thought that this good news might 
affect myself, and might bring about a favourable turn in 
my affairs, but Mr. Melladew's next words dispelled the 
hope. 

'^ I am the happiest man in London," he said. 

I reflected gravely, but not enviously, upon my own 
position, and waited for Mr. Melladew to explain himself. 

'' Did I ever mention to you," he asked, ** that I had 
a brother-in-law in Australia ?" 

*'Yes," I replied, **you have spoken of him lately 
two or three times." 

** So many years had passed," said Mr. Melladew, 
" since my wife heard from him that I had almost for- 
gotten him. He is her brother, you know, and his 
name is Portland — Richard Portland. That was my wife's 
name before we were married — not Ptichard, of course, 
but Portland." He laughed, and rubbed his leg with 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 5 

his right hand ; in his left hand was a letter. *' It was 
about eight months ago that we received a letter from him, 
asking us to give him information about our family and 
circumstances. He did not say anything about his own, 
so we were left quite in the dark as to whether he was rich 
or poor, or a married man or a bachelor. However, my wife 
answered his letter, and sent him the pictures of our two 
girls, and in her letter she asked whether he was married 
and had a family, and said also that she would like him to 
send us their pictures. Well, we heard nothing further 
from him till to-day. Another letter came from him while 
I was at the office. You may read it ; there is nothing 
private in it. It isn't from Australia ; it is written from 
Southampton, you see. But that is not the only surprise 
in it." 

I took the letter and read it. It was, indeed, a letter 
to give pleasurable surprise to the receiver. Without any 
announcement to Mr. Melladew of his intention, Mr. 
Portland had left Australia, and was now in Southampton. 
He intended to start by an early train on Saturday morning 
for London, and would come straight to his brother-in- 
law's house. In the letter he replied to the questions put 
by Mrs. Melladew. He was a bachelor, without family 
ties of any kind in Australia. Moreover, he had made his 
fortune, and it was the portraits of his two nieces which 
were the main cause of his return to England. Their 
beauty had evidently made a deep impression upon him. 
He spoke of them and of Mrs. Melladew in the most 
affectionate terms, and said it was a great pleasure to him 
to think that he was coming to a home which he hoped ho 
might look upon as partly his own. He sent his warmest 
love to them all, and in pleasantly tender words, the mean- 
ing of which could scarcely be mistaken, he desired a 
message to be given to his *^ dear nieces," to the effect that 
"their ship had come home." I handed the letter back 
to Mr. Melladew, and expressed my gratification at the 
good news. 



6 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

"It is good news," he said gleefully, "the best of 
news. I knew you would be pleased. I am wondering 
whether it is a large or a small fortune he has made. My 
wife says a large one." 

" And I say a large one," I remarked. 

"What makes you of that opinion?" inquired Mr. 
Melladew. 

" Well, in the first place there are so many large for- 
tunes made in Australia." 

" That is true." 

" Then, money being so much more plentiful there than 
here, a man gets to think less of a little than we do. His 
ideas become larger, I mean. At any time these last dozen 
years a hundred pounds would have been a God-send to me, 
and I should have thought of it so " 

" So would I," interposed Mr. Melladew. 

" But if you and I were in a land of gold, we should, I 
daresay, think much more lightly of a hundred pounds. I 
wish I had emigrated when I was first married j I had the 
chance, and let it slip. But it's no use crying over spilt 
milk." 

" Not a bit of use," said Mr. Melladew ; " life's a per- 
petual grind here, and I am truly grateful for the light this 
letter has let in upon us. You've given me two reasons 
for thinking my brother-in-law's fortune a large one. Have 
you any others ?" 

" Well, he speaks of your daughters' ship having 
come home. That looks as if he meant to provide for 
them." 

" It does look like it," said Mr. Melladew; and I saw 
that my arguments had given him pleasure. " My wife 
has a reason, also, for thinking so. She says, when Dick 
— that is her brother, you know — went away he declared 
he would never come back to England unless he could come 
back a very rich man. * And,' says my wife, * what Dick 
said, he'd stick to.* She is sure of that. It's wonderful, 
isn't it ? He didn't have a sovereign to bless himself with 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 7 

when he left England, and now — but it's no use speculat- 
ing. We shall know everything soon. You will understand 
my feelings ; you have children of your own.** 

I had indeed, and it made me rueful to think of them. 
Getting another situation in such hard times was no easy 
matter. 

'* It isn*t for myself," resumed Mr. Melladew, "that I 
am overjoyed at the better prospect before us : it is for my 
girls. Perhaps it means that they will not have to go out 
to work any longer. They are good girls, but they are so 
pretty, and have such engaging ways, that I have often 
been disturbed by the circumstance of their not being so 
much under my own and their mother's eyes as we would 
wish them to be. It could not be helped hitherto. There's 
the question of dress, now. You can manage tolerably well 
when they're little girls ; a clever woman like my wife can 
turn and twist, and cut up old things in a way to make the 
little ones look quite nice ; but when they become young 
women, with all sorts of new ideas in their pretty heads, it 
is another pair of shoes. It's natural, too, that they should 
want a little pocket money to spend upon innocent pleasures 
and harmless vanities. We were young ourselves once, 
weren't we ? We found we couldn't afford to give the girls 
what they wanted. They saw it, too, so they made up 
their minds, without saying a word to ms, to look out for 
situations for themselves, and for months they haven't been 
a farthing's expense to us. They even give their mother 
a trifle a week towards the home. Good girls, the best of 
girls ; I should be a miserable man without them. Still, 
as I said, I have been uneasy about them : there are so 
many scoundrels in the world ready with honeyed words to 
turn a girl's head ; and it hurts me to think that they have 
their little secrets which they don't ask us to share. Now, 
thank God, it will be all right. My brother-in-law will be 
here to-morrow, and when he sees Lizzie and Mary he will 
be confirmed in his kind intentions towards them. They 
can leave their situations ; and if any man wishes to pay 



8 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

them attentions he can do so in a straightforward manner 
in the home in which they were brought up." 

He was in the blithest of spirits, and I cordially re- 
newed my congratulations on his good fortune. In return, 
he condoled with me on the unpromising change in my own 
prospects. I was not very cheerful — no man could be in 
such a position — but I am not in the habit of magnify- 
ing my misfortunes to my friends, and I plucked up my 
spirits. 

*' You will soon get another situation," said Mr. Mel- 
ladew. 

*' I hope so," I replied ; ** I cannot afford to keep long 
out of one." 

** It may be in my power to give you a lift," he said 
kindly. *'Who knows what may turn up in the course 
of the next few hours ?" 

I attached no signification to this not uncommon re- 
mark at the time it was uttered, but it recurred to me 
afterwards, charged with sad and terrible import. We 
fell to again discussing the matter of which he was full. 

'*I am almost ashamed of my good luck," said Mr. 
Melladew, '* when I think what has happened to you." 

"A man must accept the ups and downs of life with 
courage," I said, *' and must put the best face he can upon 
them." 

We were true friends, and I had a sincere respect for 
him as a worthy fellow who had faithfully performed his 
duties to his family and employers. He was passionately 
fond of his two daughters, and frequently spoke of them as 
the greatest blessing in his life. It was, indeed, delight- 
ful to witness the affection he bestowed upon them in the 
happy home of which he was the head. They were girls 
of which any man might have been proud, being not 
only beautiful, but bright and witty, and full of animation. 

Mr. Melladew and I chatted together for another half- 
hour, and then he wished me good-night. 

** It is fortunate," he said, *' that I got away from the 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 9 

office an hour earlier than usual. I shall be at home when 
Lizzie returns from her work, and I want to be the first to 
tell her the good news. How excited she will be ! There 
was a friend at the house last night, who told us our for- 
tunes. Lizzie is very fond of having her fortune told. 
* There, father,' she says, ' didn't my fortune say that I 
was to receive a letter? And I've got one.' As if there 
was anything out of the way in receiving a letter ! Last 
night she was told that a great and wonderful surprise was 
in store for her. Well, there is, but I am certain the 
fortune-teller knew as much about its nature as the man in 
the moon." 

*' And Mary ?" I said. *' Will you tell her to-night ?" 

*'No," replied Mr. Melladew, ** we will wait till she 
comes home to-morrow. When she sees her uncle from 
Australia sitting in my arm-chair, she won't know what to 
think of it. Happy girls, happy girls !" 

*' And happy father and mother, too," I said. 

** Yes, yes," he said, with great feeling, ** and happy 
father and mother too." 

It was in no envious spirit that I contrasted his good 
luck with my bad, but had I suspected what the next few 
hours had in store for him, I should have thanked God for 
my lot. We have reason to be profoundly grateful for the 
ills we escape. 



CHAPTER II. 

I AM THE RECIPIENT OF TERRIBLE NEWS. 

On Saturday morning I rose early, with the strange feel- 
ings of a man whose habits of life had been suddenly and 
violently wrenched out of their usual course. I wandered 
up and down the stairs and into all the rooms in the house, 
and to the street-door, where I stood looking vacantly 
along the street, perhaps for the situation I had lost, as 



lo DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

though it were something I had dropped by accident and 
could pick up again. Two or three neighbours passed and 
gave me good-morning, and one paused and asked if I was 
not well. 

"Not well?" I echoed, somewhat irritably; *'I am 
well, quite well. What makes you think otherwise ?" 

** 0," he answered apologetically, *' only seeing you 
here, that's all. It's so unusual." 

He passed on, looking once or twice behind him. 
Unusual? Of course it was unusual. Everything was 
unusual, everything in the world, which seemed to be 
turned topsy-turvy. If the people in the street had 
walked on their heads instead of their feet it would not 
have surprised me very much. I should have regarded it 
as quite in keeping with the fact that I was standing at 
my own street-door in idleness at half-past eight o'clock on 
a Saturday morning ; I could not remember the time when 
such a thing had occurred to me. 

Standing thus in a state of semi-stupefaction, the post- 
man came up and gave me a letter. This recalled me to 
myself. 

'* Now," thought I, as I turned the envelope over in 
my hand, ** whom is it from, and what does it contain ?" 

At first I had an unreasonable hope that it was from 
my employers, imploring me to come back, but a glance at 
the address convinced me that it was a foolish hope. The 
writing was strange to me, and the envelope was a common 
one, and was fastened with sealing-wax bearing the impres- 
sion of a thimble. I opened and read the letter, and 
although it did not contain the offer of a situation, or hold 
out the prospect of one, the contents interested me. I shall 
have occasion presently to refer to this letter more par- 
ticularly, and shall at present content myself with saying 
that had it not arrived this story would never have been 
written. While my wife and I were at breakfast we spoke 
of it, and I said it was my intention to comply with the 
request it contained. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. ii 

Over breakfast, also, we reviewed our position. During 
my years of employment I had managed to save very little 
money, and upon reckoning up what I had in my purse and 
what I owed, I arrived at a balance in my favour of a little 
less than four pounds, which represented the whole of my 
worldly wealth. A poor look-out, and I was reflecting upon 
it gloomily, when my good little wife, with a tender depre- 
catory smile, laid before me on the table a Post Office 
savings-book. 

*' What is this?'* I asked. 

'* Look,'* she replied. 

The book was made out in her name, and the small 
deposits, extending over a number of years, made therein 
showed a credit of more than twenty pounds. 

'* Yours ?" I said, in wonder. '* Keally yours ?" 

*' No," said my wife. '* Yours." 

My heart beat with joy ; these twenty pounds were 
like a reprieve. I should have time to look about, without 
being tortured by fears of immediate want. I drew my 
wife to my side, and embraced her. Twenty pounds, with 
which to commence over again the battle of life ! Why it 
was a fortune ! How the little woman had contrived to 
save so much out of her scanty housekeeping money was a 
mystery to me, but she had done it by hook or by crook, as 
the saying is, and she now experienced a true and sweet 
delight in handing it over to me. 

** Well," said I, rubbing my hands cheerfully, '* things 
might look worse than they do — a great deal worse. We 
have a little store to help us over compulsorily idle days, 
and, thank God, all the children are well." 

It was much to be grateful for, and we kissed each 
other in token of our gratitude, and also as a pledge that 
we would not lose heart, but would battle bravely on. 

I had just finished my second cup of tea when the 
street-door was hastily opened, and my friend Mr. Melladew 
staggered, or rather fell, into the room, with a face as white 
as a ghost. His limbs were trembling so that he could 



12 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

not stand, and my wife, much alarmed, started up and 
helped him into a chair. 

On this special morning we had breakfasted late, and as 
my wife was assisting Mr. Melladew the clock struck ten. 

It sometimes happens that the most ordinary occur- 
rences become of unusual importance by reason of circum- 
stances with which they have no connection. Thus it was 
that the striking of ten o'clock, as I gazed upon the 
white face of my visitor, filled me with an apprehension of 
impending evil. 

'* Good God !" I cried. '' What has happened ?" 
My thought was that there had been an accident to the 
train by which Mr. Melladew expected his brother-in- 
law from Southampton, but I was soon undeceived. It was 
difficult to extract anything intelligible from Mr. Melladew 
in his terrible state of agitation; but eventually I was 
placed in possession of the following particulars. 

Mr. Melladew had risen early and had left his wife 
abed, and, as he supposed, his daughter Lizzie. It was 
Mrs. Melladew's custom on Saturday mornings to take 
half-an-hour extra in the way of sleep, and Mr. Melladew 
would prepare his own breakfast on these occasions. He 
did so on this morning, and left his house at twenty minutes 
to eight. At eight o'clock punctually he was sitting at his 
desk in the printing-office, reading proofs. Everything was 
going on as usual, the only pleasant difference being the 
extraordinary lightness of Mr. Melladew's heart as he 
thought of his rich brother-in-law from Australia, perhaps 
at that very hour stepping into the train for London, and 
•of his two darling children, Lizzie and Mary. He did not, 
however, allow this contemplation to interfere with the 
faithful and steady discharge of his duties, and his work pro- 
ceeded uninterruptedly until half-past nine, when he sent 
his young assistant, a reading boy, into the composing-room 
with the last proofs he had read, telling him to bring 
back any more that were ready. A workman at the galley- 
press had just pulled off a column of newly set-up matter, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



13 



and the lad, without waiting for it to be delivered to him, 
took the slip from the printer's hand, and returned quickly 
to the reading-room. Mr. Melladew, receiving the slip 
from his assistant, was about to commence arranging the 
** copy," which the lad had also brought with him, when 
a compositor rushed in, and, snatching both slip and 
*' copy" from Mr. Melladew's desk, hurriedly left the room. 

"• What's that for ?" inquired Mr. Melladew. 

*'I don't know, sir," replied the lad; **but there's 
something * up ' in the composing-room. The men are all 
standing talking in a regular fluster." 

**What about?" 

** Ain't got a notion, sir; but they seem regular 
upset." 

Curious to ascertain what was going on, Mr. Melladew 
strolled into the composing-room, and was struck by the 
sudden silence which ensued upon his entrance. It was all 
the more singular because Mr. Melladew, as he pushed 
the door open, heard the men speaking in excited voices, 
and had half a fancy that he heard his own name uttered 
in tones of pity. " Poor Melladew !" Yes, it was not a 
fancy. The words had been uttered at the moment of his 
entrance. The silence of the compositors, their pitying 
looks, confirmed it. But why should they speak of him as 
**poor Melladew " at a time when life had never been so 
bright and fair ? What was the meaning of the pitying 
glances directed towards him ? The composing - room, 
especially on Saturdays, was a scene of lively bustle and 
animation, but now the men were standing idle, stick in 
hand, at the corners of their frames, or tip-toeing over their 
cases, and the eyes of every man there were fixed upon Mr. 
Melladew. Had he been in trouble, had his wife or one of 
his darling daughters been ill, his thoughts would have 
immediately flown to his home, and he would have seen in 
the pitying glances of the compositors a sign of some dread 
misfortune ; but in his happy mood he received no such 
impression. 



14 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

** What on earth is the matter with you all?" he said 
in a light tone. 

He saw the compositor who had snatched the slip of 
new matter from his desk, and before he could be prevented 
he took it from the man's hand. 

The compositors found their voices. 

'' No, Mr. Melladew !" they cried. '* No; don't, don't !" 

''Nonsense !" he said, and keeping possession of the 
slip, he left the composing-room for his own. 

*' Go and get the copy," he said to the lad who had 
followed him. 

When the lad was gone he spread the slip on the desk 
before him. The first words he saw formed the title of the 
column he was about to read : ** Horrible Murder in Vic- 
toria Park !" Beneath it were the sub-headings, ** Stabbed 
to the Heart !" and ** A Bunch of Blood-stained Daisies !" 
To a newspaper reader such events, shocking though they be, 
are unhappily no novelties, and Mr. Melladew looked down 
the column, I will not say mechanically, for he was a 
humane man, but steadily, and stirred no doubt by pity and 
indignation. But before he had got half-way down the pul- 
sations of his heart seemed to stop, and the words swam 
before his eyes. His eyes lighted on the name. of the girl 
who had been murdered. 

It was that of his own daughter, Lizzie Melladew ! 



CHAPTER III. 

A SHOAL OF VISITORS FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER MYSTERY. 

In an agony of horror and despair he had flown from 
the printing-office to my house. 

I cannot say whether he chose my house premeditatedly; 
it is likely that it was done without distinct intention, but 
it was a proof that be regarded my friendship as genuinei 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 15 

and that he knew he could depend upon my sympathy in 
times of trouble. As indeed he could. My heart bled as 
I gazed upon him. The words issued with difficulty from 
his trembling lips ; his features were convulsed ; he shook 
like a man in an ague. 

" 0, my Lizzie!" he moaned. ** My poor, poor Lizzie ! 
0, my child, my child !" 

I took in regularly a penny daily newspaper, and I had 
read it on this morning, but there was no mention in its 
columns of the dreadful occurrence. The discovery had been 
made too late for the first editions of the daily journals. 

Mr. Melladew's story being told, disjointedly, and in 
fragments which I had to piece together in order to arrive 
at an intelligible comprehension of it, the unhappy man sat 
before me, moaning. 

** 0, my Lizzie ! 0, my poor child !'* 
** Was she at home ?" I asked gently; I did not attempt 
to console him. Of wliat avail were mere words at such a 
moment? '*Was she at home when you went from here 
last night ?" 

** Yes, she was there," he moaned. " When she went 
to bed I kissed her. For the last time ! For the last, last 
time!" 

And then he broke down utterly. I could get nothing 
further from him. 

When she went to bed, he kissed her. What kind of 
riddle was here, in the midst of the horrible tragedy, that 
the hapless girl should have wished her parents good-night 
and retired to rest, and be found ruthlessly murdered a few 
hours afterwards in an open park at some distance from her 
house ? With such joyful news as Mr. Melladew had to 
communicate to his daughter, the probability was that they 
had kept up later than usual, talking of the brighter future 
that then seemed spread before them. It made the tragic 
riddle all the more difficult. 

There came a knock at the street-door, and a gentleman 
wfts admitted, upon most urgent busineBS ho said. It turned 



i6 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

out that he was a newspaper reporter, who, in advance of 
the police, had tracked Mr. Melladew to my house, and had 
come to obtain information from him for his newspaper. I , 
pointed out to him the condition of Mr. Melladew, and said 
something to the effect that it was scarcely decent to intrude 
upon him at sucn a time. 

The reporter, who evidently felt deeply for the bereaved 
father, and whose considerate manner was such as to com- 
pletely disarm me, said aside to me, 

* ' Pray do not think that I am devoid of feeling ; I am 
a father myself, and have a daughter of the age of his poor 
girl. My mission is not one of idle curiosity. A ruthless 
murder has been committed, and the murderer is at large. 
I am not working only for my paper ; I am assisting the 
cause of justice. Every scrap of information we can obtain 
will hasten the arrest of the wretch who has been guilty of 
a crime so diabolical." 

" He can tell you nothing," I said, compelled to admit 
that he was right. *' Look at him as he sits there, crushed 
and broken down by the blow." 

" I pity him from my heart," said the reporter. **Can 
you assist me in anyway? Did the poor girl live at home?" 

" She lived at home certainly, but she had employment 
at Madame Michel's, in Baker Street." 

'* Madame Michel's, in Baker Street. I must go there. 
Did she sleep out?" 

*' No ; she came home every night at half-past seven." 

** Did she do so last night?" 

^'Yes." 

** Did she not go to some place of amusement ?" 

** Not to my knowledge. Her father told me that before 
she went tp bed he kissed her good-night." 

*' Do you know at what hour?" 

'.'I do not." 

*' But presumably not early." 

" Not so early as usual, I should say, because her 
father had some good news to communicate to her, and they 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 17 

would stop up late talking of it. Understand, much of 
what I say is presumptive." 

** But reasonable," said the reporter. ** Did the poor 
girl have a sweetheart ?'* 

Words which Mr. Melladew had spoken on the previous 
night recurred to me here. ** There are so many scoundrels 
in the world ready with honeyed words to turn a girl's head; 
and it hurts me to think that they have their little secrets 
which they don't ask us to share." Did not this point to 
a secret which was hidden from her parents ? I said nothing 
of this to the reporter, but answered that I was not aware 
that the poor girl had a sweetheart. 

" Some one must have been in love with her," said 
the reporter. 

**Many, perhaps," I rejoined ; '* but not one courted 
her openly, I believe — that is, to her parents' knowledge." 

" That counts for very little. She was a beautiful 
girl." 

'* How ?" I exclaimed. " Have you seen her ?" 

*'I saw her this morning," he answered gravely, 
" within the last two hours. She looked like an angel." 

** Was there no trace of suffering in her face ?" I asked 
wistfully. 

"None. She was stabbed to the heart — only one, 
sharp, swift, devilish blow, and death must have been 
instantaneous. To my unprofessional eye it almost seems 
as if she must have died in sleep — in happy sleep." 

*' That, at least, is merciful. Hush !" 

Mr. Melladew was rocking to and fro murmuring, "0, 
my Lizzie, my darling child ! 0, my poor, poor Lizzie !" 
We had spoken in low tones, and he evinced no conscious- 
ness of having heard what we said. During our conversa- 
tion the reporter was jotting down notes unobtrusively. 
The conversation would doubtless have been continued had 
it not been for the appearance of other persons, following 
rapidly upon each other, policemen, and additional reporters, 
who had discovered that Mr. Melladew was in my house. 





1 8 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

The last to appear was Mrs. Melladew, who had heard 
rumours of the frightful crime, and who flew round to me, 
not knowing that her hushand was in the room. What 
passed from that moment, while all these persons were 
buzzing around me, was so confusing that I cannot hope to 
give an intelligible transcript of it. I was, as it were, in 
the background, as one who had no immediate interest 
in the unravelling of the terrible mystery. It was a most 
agitating time to me and my wife, and when my visitors 
had all departed I felt like a man who had been afflicted 
by a horrible nightmare. How little did I imagine that 
the letter I had received by the early morning's post, 
and which I had in my pocket, was vitally connected with 
it, and that of all those present I was the man who was 
destined to bring the mystery to light ! 

Before the day was over fresh surprises were in store 
for me in connection with the dreadful deed. Needless to 
say that the whole neighbourhood was in a state of great 
excitement ; so numerous were my idle visitors that I was 
compelled to tell my wife to admit into the house no 
person but the Melladews, or relatives of theirs. In the 
afternoon, however, one visitor called who would not be 
denied. He sent in his card, which bore the name of 
George Carton, and I said I would see him. 

He was a young man, whose age I judged to be 
between twenty and twenty-five, well dressed, and remark- 
ably good-looking. His manners were those of one who 
was accustomed to move in good society, and both his 
speech and behaviour during the interview impressed me 
favourably. I observed when he entered the room that 
he was greatly agitated. 

*' I have intruded myself upon you, sir," he said, 
''because I felt that I should go mad if I did not speak 

to some person who was a friend of — -or " 

He could not proceed, and I finished the sentence 
for him. **0f the poor girl who has been so cruelly 
murdered?" 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 19 

He nodded his head, and, when he could control his 
voice, said, '* You were an intimate friend of hers, sir ?" 

*' Mr. Melladew's family and mine," I replied, '* have 
been on terms of friendship for many years. I have 
known the poor girl and her sister since their infancy." 

** I did not dare to call upon Mr. Melladew," he said, 
and then he faltered again and paused. 

*' Are you acquainted with him ?" I asked. 

'* No," he said, " but I hoped to be. If I went now 
and told him what I wish to impart to you, he might look 
upon me as responsible for what has occurred." He put 
his hand over his eyes, from which the tears were flowing. 

** What is it you wish to impart to me?" I inquired, 
" and why should you suppose you would be held respon- 
sible for so horrible a crime ?" 

**I scarcely know what I am saying," he replied. 
"But my secret intimacy with Lizzie" — I caught my 
breath at his familiar utterance of the name — *' becoming 
known to him now for the first time, might put wrong ideas 
into his head." 

'* Your secret intimacy with Lizzie ?" I exclaimed. 

*'We have known each other for more than four 
months," he said. 

''Secretly?" 

*' Yes, secretly." 

" And the poor girPs parents were not aware of it ?" 

** They were not. It was partly my poor Lizzie's wish, 
and partly my own, I think, until I was sure that I pos- 
sessed her love. She kept it from me for a long time. 
* Wait,' she used to say, smiling — pardon me, sir ; my 
heart seems as if it would break when I speak of her — 
*Wait,' she used to say, 'I am not certain yet whether 
I really, really love you.' But she did, sir, all along." 

*'How do you know that?" I asked, in doubt now 
whether I should regard him with favour or suspicion. 

** She confessed it to me last Tuesday night as she 
walked home from Baker Street." 



20 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

** You were in the habit of meeting her, then ?'* ^ 

** Yes. I beg you to believe, sir, there was nothing 
wrong in it. I loved and honoured her sincerely. I wanted 
then to accompany her home and ask her parents* permis- 
sion to pay my addresses to her openly : but she said no, 
and that she would speak to them first herself. It was 
arranged so. She was to tell them to-night, and I was to 
call and see her father and mother to-morrow. And now 
— and now — " Again he paused, overpowered by grief. 
Presently he spoke again. ** See here, sir." 

He detached a locket from his chain, and opening 
it, showed me the sweet and beautiful face of Lizzie Mella- 
dew. 

**It was taken for me," he said, "on "Wednesday 
morning. She obtained permission from her employers 
for an hour's absence, and we went together to get it 
taken. The photographer hurried the picture on for me, 
I was so anxious for it. I had my picture taken for her, 
and put into a locket, which I was to give her to-mor- 
row with this ring in the presence of her parents." He 
produced both the locket and the ring. The locket was a 
handsome gold ornament, set with pearls ; the ring was a 
half-hoop, set with diamonds. The gifts were such as only 
a man in a good position could afford to give. *' I shall 
never be happy again," he said mournfully, as he replaced 
the locket on his chain, after gazing on the beautiful face 
with eyes of pitiful love. 

** Were you in the habit of writing to her ?" I asked. 

**No, sir. No letters passed between us ; there was 
no need to write, I saw her so often — four or five times a 
week. * When father and mother know everything,' she 
said on Tuesday night, 'you shall write to me every day.' 
I promised that I would." 

** I am not sorry you confided in me," I said, completely 
won over by the young man's ingenuousness and undoubted 
sincerity ; ** but I can offer you no words of comfort. You 
will have to make this known to others." 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 21 

*' I shall do what is right, sir. It is not in your power, 
nor in any man's, to give me any comfort or consolation. 
The happiness of my life is destroyed — but there is still 
one thing left me, and I will not rest till it is accomplished. 
As God is my judge, I will not!" He did not give me 
time to ask his meaning, but continued: **You can do 
me the greatest favour, sir." 

"What is it?" 

** I must see Mary — her sister, sir. Can you send 
round to the house, and ask her to come and see me here ? 
She will come when she gets my message. Will you do 
this for me, sir?" 

'* Yes," I replied, "there is no harm in it." 

I called my wife, and bade her go to Mr. Melladew's 
house, and contrive to see Mary Melladew privately, and 
give her ithe young man's message. During my wife's 
absence George Carton and I exchanged but few words. 
He sat for the chief part of the time with his head resting 
on his hand, and I was busy thinking whether the informa- 
tion he had imparted to me would be likely to afford a clue 
to the discovery of the murderer. My wife returned with 
consternation depicted on her face. 

" Mary is not at home," she said. 

"Where has she gone?" cried George Carton, starting 

up- 

To my astonishment my wife replied, " They are in 
the greatest trouble about her. She has not been homo 
aU the day." 

"Have they not seen anything of her?" I asked, also 
rising to my feet. 

"No," said my wife, *'they have seen nothing what- 
ever of her." 

"Is it possible," I exclaimed, "that she can be 
still at her place of business, in ignorance of what has 
taken place ?" 

"No," cried George Carton, in great excitement, 
" she is not there. I have been to inquire. She went out 



22 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

last night, and never returned. Great God ! What can 
be the meaning of it ?" 

I strove in vain to calm him. He paced the room 
with flashing eyes, muttering to himself words so wild 
that I could not arrive at the least understanding of them. 

** Gone ! Gone !" he cried at last. *' But where, 
where ? I will not sleep, I will not rest, till I find her ! 
Neither will I rest till I discover the murderer of my darling 
girl ! And when I discover him, when he stands before 
me, as there is a living God, I will kill him with my own 
hands !" 

His passion was so intense that I feared he would there 
and then commit some act of violence, and I made an 
endeavour to restrain and calm him by throwing my arms 
around him ; but he broke from me with a torrent of frantic 
words, and rushed out of the house. 

Here was another mystery, added to the tragedy of the 
last few hours. What was to be the outcome of it ? From 
what quarter was light to come ? 



CHAPTEK IV. 

MB. RICHARD PORTLAND MAKES A SINGULAR 
PROPOSITION TO ME. 

In the evening I received another visitor, in the person 
of Mr. Richard Portland, Mr. Melladew's brother-in-law. 
A shrewd, hard-headed man, but much cast down at present. 
It was clear to me, after a little conversation with him, 
that his nieces, Mary and the hapless Lizzie, had been the 
great inducement of his coming home to England, and I 
learnt from him that there was no doubt about the news of 
Mary Melladew's mysterious disappearance. 

Mr. Portland was a thoroughly practical man, even in 
matters of sentiment. It was sentiment truly that had 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 23 

brought him home, but his expectations had been blasted 
by the news of the tragedy which had greeted him on his 
arrival. He was deeply moved by the affliction which had 
fallen upon his sister's family ; his indignation was aroused 
against the monster who had brought this fearful blow upon 
them ; and, in addition, he was bitterly angry at being 
deprived of the society of two lovely, interesting girls, in 
whose hearts he had naturally hoped to find a place. 

'* My brother is fit for nothing," he said. *'He is 
prostrate, and cannot be roused to action. He moans and 
moans, and clasps his head. My sister is no better ; she 
goes out of one fainting fit into another." 

** What can they do ?" I asked. ** What would you 
have them do?" 

** Not sit idly down," he replied curtly. " That is not 
the way to discover the murderer ; and discovered he must 
and shall be, if it costs me my fortune." 

*' There have been murders," I remarked, " in the very 
heart of London, and though years have passed, the mur- 
derers still walk the streets undetected." 

'* It is incredible," he said. 

"It is true," was my rejoinder. 

**But surely," he urged, "this will not be classed 
among them ?" 

'a trust not." 

** Money will do much." 

** Much, but not everything. You have been many 
years in Australia. Have not such crimes been committed 
even there ^without the perpetrators being brought to jus- 
tice?" 

'*Yes," he replied, '* but Australia and London are 
not to be spoken of in the same breath. There, a man 
may succeed in making himself lost in wild and vast tracts 
of country. He can walk for days without meeting a 
living soul. Here he is surrounded by his fellow-creatures." 

"Your argument," I said, "tells against yourself. 
Here, in the crush and turmoil of millions, each atom with 



24 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

its own individual and overwhelming cares and anxieties, 
the murderer is comparatively safe. No one notices him. 
Why should they, in such a seething crowd ? In the bush 
he is the central figure ; he walks along with a hang-dog 
look; he must halt at certain places for food, and his guilty 
manner draws attention upon him. In that lies his 
danger. But this is profitless argument. For my part, I 
see no reason why the murderer of your unfortunate niece 
should not be discovered." 

'^ Sensibly said. It must be a man who committed 
the deed." 

*' That has to be proved," I remarked. 

''Surely you don't believe it was a woman?" exclaimed 
Mr. Portland. 

'* Such things have been. In these cases ^f mystery 
it is always an error to rush at a conclusion and to set to 
work upon it, to the exclusion of all others. It is as great 
an error to reject a theory because of its improbability. 
My dear sir, nothing is improbable in this city of ours ; 
lam almost tempted to say that nothing is impossible. 
The columns of our newspapers teem with romance which 
once upon a time would have been regarded as fables." 

Mr. Portland looked at me thoughtfully as he said, 
'' You are doubtless right. It needs such a mind as yours 
to bring the matter to light — a mind both comprehensive 
and microscopic. There is some satisfaction in speaking 
to you; a man hears things worth listening to. The 
unpractical stuff that has been buzzing in my ears ever 
since I arrived from Southampton has almost driven me 
crazy. Give me your careful attention for a few moments ; 
it may be something in your pocket." 

He paused awhile, as though considering a point, before 
he resumed. 

** My coming home to the old country has been a bitter 
disappointment to me. Quite apart from the sympathy I 
feel for the parents upon whom such a dreadful blow has 
fallen, the news which greeted me on my arrival has upset 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 25 

the plans I had formed. Over there " — with a jerk of his 
thumb over his right shoulder, as though AustraKa lay 
immediately in the rear of his chair — *' where I made a 
pretty considerable fortune, I had no family ties, and was 
often chewing the cud of loneliness, lamenting that I had 
no one to care for, and no one to care for me. When I 
received the portraits of my nieces I was captivated by 
them, and I thought of them continually. Here was the 
very thing I was sighing for, a human tie to banish the 
devil of loneliness from my heart. The beautiful young 
girls belonged to me in a measure, and would welcome and 
love me. I should have a home to go to where I should be 
greeted with affection. I won't dwell upon what I thought, 
because I hate a man who spins a thing out threadbare, 
but you will understand it. I came home to' enjoy the 
society of my two beautiful nieces, and I find what you 
know of. Well, one poor girl has gone, and cannot be 
recalled ; but the other, Mary, so far as we know, is alive ; 
and yet she, too, disappeared last night, and nothing has 
been heard of her. She must be found ; if she is in danger 
she must be rescued ; she must be restored to her parents' 
arms, and to mine. Something else. The murderer of 
my poor niece Lizzie must be discovered and brought to 
justice — must be, I say ! There shall be no miscarriage 
here ; the villain shall not escape. Now, you — excuse me 
if I speak abruptly, I mean no disrespect by it ; it is only 
my way of speaking ; and I don't wish to be rude or to 
pry into your private affairs, far from it. What I mean 
is, money?" 

I stared at him in amazement ; he had sjtated his mean- 
ing in one pregnant word, but he had failed in conveying to 
my mind any comprehension of it. 

**Now, I put it to you," he said, " and I hope you'll 
take it kindly. I give you my word that my intentions are 
good. You are not a rich man, are you ?" 

*'No," I answered promptly; for he was so frank and 
open, and was speaking in a tone of such deep concern, that 



26 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

I could not take offence at a question which at other times 
I should have resented. " I am not." 

" And you wouldn't turn your nose up at a thousand 
pounds ?" 

*'No, indeed I would not," I said heartily, wondering 
what on earth the rich Australian was driving at. 

"Well, then," he said, touching my breast with his 
forefinger, " you discover the murderer of my poor niece 
Lizzie, and the thousand pounds are yours. I will give 
the money to you. Something else : find my niece Mary, 
and restore her to her parents and to me, and I'll make it 
two thousand. Come, you don't have such a chance every 
day." 

'* That is true," I said, and I could not help liking 
the old fellow for this display of heart. * ' But it is too 
remote for consideration." 

**Not at all, my dear sir, not at all," and again he 
touched my breast with his forefinger ; ** there is nothing 
remote in it." 

" But why," I asked, not at all convinced by his insist- 
ance, ** do you offer me such a reward, instead of going to 
the police ?" 

*' Partly because of what you said, confirmed — though 
I didn't think of it at the time you mentioned it — by what 
I have read, about murders being committed in the very 
heart of London, without the murderers ever being dis- 
covered." 

" I was simply stating a fact." 

"Exactly; and it speaks well for the police, doesn't 
it? But I have only explained part of my reason for 
offering you the reward. It isn't alone what you said 
about undiscovered murderers, it is because you spoke like 
a sensible man, who, once having his finger on a clue, 
wouldn't let it slip till he'd worked it right out ; and like a 
man who, while he was working that clue, wouldn't let 
others slip that might happen to come in his way. I've 
opened my mind to you, and I've nothing more to say until 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 27 

you come to me to say somethmg on your own account. 
0, yes I have, though ; I was forgetting that we're 
strangers to one another, and that it wouldn't be reasonable 
for me to expect you to take my word for a thousand 
pounds. Well, then, to show you that I am in earnest, I 
lay on the table Bank of England notes for a hundred 
pounds. Here they are, on account." 

To my astonishment he had pulled out his pocket-book 
and extracted ten ten-pound notes, and there they lay on 
the table before me. I would have entreated him to take 
them back, feeling that it would be the falsest of false pre- 
tences to accept them, but before I could speak again he 
was gone. 

I called my wife into the room, and told her what had 
passed. She regarded it in the same light as myself, but 
I noted a little wistful look in her eyes as she glanced at 
the bank-notes. 

*' A thousand pounds !" she sighed, half-longingly, half- 
humorously. '* If we could only call it ours ! Why, it 
would make our fortune !" 

" It would, my dear," I said, wishing in my heart of 
hearts that I had a thousand pounds of my own to throw 
into her lap. " But this particular thousand pounds which 
the good old fellow has so generously offered will never 
come into our possession. So let us dismiss it from our 
minds." 

" Mr. Portland," said my wife, " evidently thinks you 
would make a good detective." 

** That may or may not be, though his opinion of me 
is altogether too flattering. Certainly, if I had a clue to 
the discovery of this terrible mystery — '* 

*' You would follow it up," said my wife, finishing the 
sentence for me. 

** Undoubtedly I would, with courage and determina- 
tion. With such a reward in view, nothing should shake 
me off. I would prove myself a very bloodhound. But 
there," I said, half ashamed at being led away, *' I am 



28 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

sailing in the clouds. Let's talk no more about it. As 
for Mr. Portland's hundred pounds I will put the notes 
carefully by, and return them to him at the first oppor- 
tunity. Poor Mrs. Melladew ! How I pity her and Mella- 
dew ! I shall never forget the picture of the father sitting 
in that chair, moaning, * My poor, poor Lizzie ! 0, my 
child, my child !' It was heartbreaking." 

My wife and I talked a great deal of it during the 
night, and before we went to bed I had purchased at least 
seven or eight newspapers of the newsboys who passed 
through the street crying out new editions and latest news 
of the dreadful deed. But there was nothing really new. 
Matters were in the same state as when the body of the 
hapless girl was found in Victoria Park early in the morn- 
ing. I recognised how dangerous was the delay. Every 
additional hour increased the chances of the murderer's 
escape from the hands of justice. 

I did not sleep well ; my slumbers were disturbed by 
fantastic, horrible dreams. It was eleven o'clock on Sun- 
day morning before I quitted my bed. 



CHAPTER V. 

I PAY A VISIT TO MES. LEMON. 

I MUST now speak of the letter which I received on the 
morning of the murder, as I stood at my street-door. It was 
from a Mrs. Lemon, entreating me to call upon her at any 
hour most convenient to me on this Sunday, and it was 
couched in terms so imploring that it would have been cruel 
on my part to refuse, more especially as the writer had 
some slight claim upon me. Mrs. Lemon had been for 
many years a nurse and servant in my parents' house, and 
the children were fond of her. She was then a spinster, 
and her name was Fanny Peel. We used to make jokes 



DEVLIN THEIBARBER. 29 

upon it, and call her Fancy Peel, Orange Peel, Candied 
Peel, Lemon Peel — and we little dreamt, when we called 
her Lemon Peel, that we were unconsciously moved by the 
spirit of prophecy. For though she was thirty years of age 
she succeeded in captivating a widower a few years older 
than herself, Ephraim Lemon, a master barber and hair- 
dresser, who used to haunt the area. We youngsters were 
in the habit of watching for him and playing him tricks, I 
am afraid, but nothing daunted his ardour. He proposed 
for Fanny, and she accepted him. Some enterprising 
tradesmen, when their stock is stale or old-fashioned, put 
bills in their windows announcing that no reasonable offer 
will be refused. Fanny Peel, having been long on the 
shelf, may have thought of this when she accepted 
Ephraim Lemon's hand. After her marriage she came to 
see me once a year to pay her respects ; but suddenly her 
visits became less frequent, until they ceased altogether. 
For a long time past I had heard nothing of my old nurse. 

*'It is a fine morning," I said to my wife, ** and I shall 
walk to Fanny's house." 

In the course of an hour I presented myself at Mrs. 
Lemon's street-door, and knocked. She herself opened it 
to me, and after an anxious scrutiny asked me eagerly to 
walk in. There was trouble in her face, tempered by an 
expression of relief when she fully recognised me. She 
preceded me into her little parlour, and I sat down, await- 
ing the communication she desired to make. Up to the 
point of my sitting down the only words exchanged between 
us were — 

From her : *'0, sir, it is you, and you liave come !" 

From me: ** Yes, Fanny ; I hope I am not later than 
you expected ?" 

From her : " Not at all, sir. You always was that 
punkchel that I used to time myself by you." 

It is a detail to state that I had not the remotest idea 
what she meant by this compliment, especially as I had 
not made an appointment for any particular hour. How- 



30 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

ever, I did not ask her for an explanation. I addressed 
her as Fanny quite naturally, and when I followed her into 
the parlour an odd impression came upon me that I had 
gone right hack into the past, and that I was once more a 
little boy in pinafores. 

The house Mrs. Lemon inhabits is situated in the 
north of London, in a sadly resigned neighbourhood, which 
bears a shabby genteel reputation. If I may be allowed 
such a form of expression I may say that it is respectable 
in a demi-semi kind of way. I do not mean in respect of 
its morals, which are unexceptionable, but in respect of its 
social position. It is situated in a square, and is one of a 
cluster of tenements so exactly alike in their frontage 
appearance that were it not for the numbers on the doors a 
man, that way inclined, might hope for forgiveness for 
walking in and taking tea with his neighbour's wife instead 
of with his own. In the centre of the square is an enclo- 
sure, bounded by iron railings, which once may have been 
intended for the cultivation of flowers ; at the present time 
it contains a few ancient shrubs which nobody ever waters, 
and which are, therefore, always shabby and dusty in dry 
weather. Even when it rains they do not attempt to put 
on an air of liveliness ; it is as though they had settled 
down to the conviction that their day is over. To this 
enclosed rural mockery, each tenant in the square is sup- 
posed to have a key, but the only use the ground is put to 
is to shake carpets in, and every person in or out of the 
neighbourhood is made free of it, by reason of there being 
no lock to the gate. There are no signs of absolute poverty 
in the square. Vagrant children do not play at ''shops" 
on the doorsteps and window-sills ; organ men avoid it with 
a shudder ; beggars walk slowly through, and do not linger ; 
peripatetic vendors of food never venture there ; and the 
donkey of the period is unfamiliar with the region. Amuse- 
ment is provided twice a week by a lanky old gentleman in 
a long tail coat and a frayed black stock reaching to his 
ears, whose instrument is a wheezy flute, and whose 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 31. 

repertoire consists of '* The Last Rose of Summer " and 
" Away with Melancholy," which he blows out in a fashion 
so unutterably mournful and dismal as to suggest to the 
ingenious mind that his nightly wanderings are part of a 
punishment inflicted upon him at some remote period for 
the commission of a dark, mysterious crime. 

** It's very good of you to come, sir," said Mrs. Lemon, 
working her right hand slowly backwards and forwards on 
a faded black silk dress, which I judged had been put on 
in honour of my visit. **I hope you are well, sir, and 
your lady, and your precious family." 

I replied that my wife and children were quite well, and 
that we should be glad to see her at any time. When she 
heard this she burst into tears. 

*' You always was the kindest-hearted gentleman !" she 
sobbed. ** You never did object to being put upon, and you 
give away your toys that free that all the other children 
used to take advantage of you. But you didn't mind, sir, 
not you. Over and over agin have your blessed father 
said when he was alive, * That boy'll never git along in the 
world, he's so soft !' " Mrs. Lemon's tears at this re- 
miniscence flowed more freely. ** I can't believe, sir, no, 
I can't believe as time has flown so quick since those happy, 
happy days !" 

The happy days referred to were, of course, the days of 
my childhood ; and my father's prophecy, which I heard 
now for the first time, respecting my future, brought a con- 
templative smile to my lips. 

** Ah, sir," said Mrs. Lemon, with a sigh, " if we only 
knew when we was well ofi", what a lot of troubles we 
shouldn't have!" 

I nodded assent to this little bit of philosophy, and 
looked round the room, not dreaming that in the humble 
apartment I was to receive a clue to the mystery of the 
murder of pretty Lizzie Melladew. 



32 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



CHAPTEK VI. 

I AM HAUNTED BY THREE EVIL-LOOKING OBJECTS IN 
MRS. lemon's room. 

It was plentifully furnished : stuffed chairs and couch, 
the latter with a guilty air about it which seemed to say, 
** I am not what I seem ;" a mahogany table in the centre, 
upon which was an album which had seen very much better 
days; ornaments on the mantelshelf, bounded on each 
corner by a lustre with broken pendants ; a faded green 
carpet on the floor ; two pictures on the walls ; and on a 
small table near the window a glass case with an evil- 
looking bird in it. The pictures were portraits of Mr. and 
Mrs. Lemon in oil-colour. They appeared to have been 
recently painted, and I made a remark to that effect. 

''Yes, sir," said Mrs. Lemon, in a voice which struck 
me as being uneasy. " They was done only a few weeks 
ago." And then, as though the words were forced from 
her against her will, '* Do you see a likeness, sir?" 

When she asked this question she was gazing at the 
portrait of herself. 

As a work of art, the painting was a shocking exhibi- 
tion ; as a likeness, it was unmistakable. 

*' It is," I said, *' your very image. Is the portrait of 
your husband — if that is your husband hanging there— — " 

She interrupted me with a shudder. *' Hanging there, 
sir ?" 

** I mean on the wall. It is a picture of Mr. Lemon, 
I presume." 

"Yes, sir, it's him." 

"Is it as faithful a portrait as your own ?" 

"It's as like him, sir, as two peas. Egscept " but 

she suddenly paused. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 33 

''Except what, Fanny?" 

** Nothing, sir, nothing," she said hurriedly. 

If, thought I, it is as like him as two peas, there must 
be something extraordinarily strange and odd in Mr. Lemon. 
That he was not a good-looking man could be borne with; 
but that, of his own free will, he should have submitted to 
be painted and exhibited with such a sly, sinister expres- 
sion on his face, was decidedly not in his favour. With 
his thought in my mind I turned involuntarily to the evil - 
looking bird in the glass case, and, singularly enough, was 
struck by an absurd and fearful resemblance between the 
bird's beak and the man's face. Mrs. Lemon's eyes fol- 
lowed mine. 

** Have you had that bird long ?" I asked. 

*'Not long, sir," she replied, and her voice trembled. 
*' About as long as the pictures." 

'* Did your husband buy it in England ? It is a strange 
bird, and I can't find a name for it." 

** Lemon didn't buy it, sir. It was give to him." 

I hazarded a guess. "By the artist who painted your 
husband's portrait?" 

"Yes, sir." 

Turning from the stuffed bird to the fireplace, I re- 
ceived a shock. In the centre of the mantelshelf was the 
stone figure of a creature, half monster and half man, with 
a face bearing such a singular resemblance to Mr. Lemon's 
and the bird's beak that I rubbed my eyes in bewilderment, 
believing myself to have suddenly fallen under the influence 
of a devilish enchantment. But rub my eyes as I might, 
I could not rub away the strange resemblance. It was no 
delusion of the senses. 

" Was that — that figure, Fanny, given to you by the 
artist who painted your husband's portrait, and who pre- 
sented him with that stuffed bird ?" 

" Yes, sir ; he give it to Lemon." And then, in a 
timorous voice, she asked, " Do you see anything odd in it, 
sir?" 



34 DEVLIN THE BARBER. ■ 

*' It is not only that it's odd," I replied ; *' but, if you 
will excuse me for saying so, Fanny, there is really something 
horrible about it." 

In a low tone Mrs. Lemon said, '* That's egsactly as I 
feel, sir." 

" Then, why don't you get rid of it ?" 

" It's more than I dare do, sir. There it is, and there 
it must remain." 

'*And there that evil-looking bird is, I suppose, and 
there that must remain." 

'*Yes, sir." 

*'Ah, well," I said, thinking it time to' get upon the 
track, " and now let us talk about something else. You 
appear to be in trouble." 

** You may well say that, sir. I'm worn to skin and 
bone." 

"I'm sorry to hear it, Fanny. Money troubles, I 
suppose ?" 

*' 0, no, sir ! We can manage on what we've got, 
Lemon and me, though he Ifias made ducks and drakes 
with the best part of his savings. Not money troubles, 
sir; a good deal worser than that." 

" Your husband is well, I trust.'* 

'* I wish I could say so, sir. No, sir, he's a long way 
from well, and I didn't know who else to call in, for poor 
dear Lemon wouldn't stand anybody but you." 

Why poor dear Lemon wouldn't stand anybody but me 
was, to say the least of it, inexplicable ; as, since I used to 
catch indistinct views of his legs when he came courting 
Fanny in my father's house, I had never set eyes on him. 
I made no remark, however, but waited quietly for develop- 
ments. 

*'He took to his bed, sir," said Mrs. Lemon, *'at a 
quarter to four o'clock yesterday afternoon ; and it's my 
opinion he'll never git up from it." 

**That is bad news, Fanny. But your letter to me 
was written before yesterday afternoon." 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 35 

"Yes, sir; because I felt that things mustn't be 
allowed to go on as they are going on without trying to 
alter 'em. They was bad enough when I posted my letter 
to you, sir ; but they're a million times worse now. My 
blood's a-curdling, sir." 

*'Eh ?" I cried, much startled by this solemn matter- 
of-fact description of the condition of her blood. 

** It's curdling inside me, sir, to think of what is going 
to happen to Lemon !" 

**Come, come, Fanny," I expostulated, *'you mustn't 
take things so seriously ; it will not mend them. What 
does the doctor say ?" 

''Doctor, sir? Love your heart! If I was to take 
a doctor into Lemon's room now, I wouldn't answer for 
the consequences." 

" That is all nonsense," I said ; **he must be reasoned 
with." 

Mrs. Lemon shook her head triumphantly. "You 
may reason with some men, sir, and you may delood a 
child ; but reason with Lemon — I defy you, sir !" 

There was really no occasion for her to do that, as I 
was there in the capacity of a friend. While we were con- 
versing I made continual unsuccessful attempts to avoid 
sight of the objects which had produced upon me so dis- 
agreeable an impression, but I could not place myself in 
such a position as to escape the whole three at one and 
the same time. If I turned my back upon the evil-looking 
bird and the portrait of Mr. Lemon, the hideous stone 
figure on the mantelshelf met my gaze ; if I turned my 
back upon that, I not only had a side view of the bird's 
beak, but a full-faced view of my friend Lemon. Fami- 
liarity with these objects intensified my first impressions of 
them, and at times I could almost fancy that their sinister 
features moved in mockery of me. There was in them a 
fiend-Hke magnetism I found it impossible to resist. 

** Does your husband eat well ?" I asked. 

"Not so well as he used to do, sir." 



36 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

''Perhaps," I said, hazarding a guess, *'he drinks a 
little too much." 

*'No, sir, you're wrong there. He likes a glass — we 
none of us despise it, sir — but he never exceeds." 

'* Then, in the name of all that's reasonable, Fanny, 
what is the matter with him ?" 

Mrs. Lemon turned to her husband's portrait, turned 
to the stone figure on the mantelshelf, turned to the evil- 
looking bird ; and her frame was shaken by a strong shud- 
dering. 

** Is it anything to do with those objects ?" I inquired, 
my wonder and perplexity growing. 

** That's what I want you to find out for me, sir, if I 
can so fur trespass. Don't refuse me, sir, don't ! It's a 
deal to ask you to do, I know, but I shall be everlastingly 
grateful." 

"lam ready to serve you, Fanny," I said gravely, ''but 
at present I am completely in the dark. For instance, this 
is the first time I have seen those Mephistophelian-looking 
objects with which you have chosen to decorate your 
room." 

"I didn't choose, sir. It was done, and I daredn't go 
agin it." 

" I have nothing to say to that ; I must wait for your 
explanation. What I was about to remark was, why that 
evil-beaked bird " 

"Which I wish," she interposed, "had been burnt 
before it was stuffed." 

" Should bear so strange a resemblance," I 

continued, "to the portrait of your husband, and why 
both should bear so strange a resemblance to the stone 
monster on your mantelshelf, is so very much beyond me, 
that I cannot for the life of me arrive at a satisfactory 
solution of the mystery. Surely it cannot spring fi:om a 
diseased imagination, for you have the same fancy as 
myself." 

"It ain't fancy, sir; it*B fact. And the sing'lar part 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 37 

of it is that the party as brought them all three into the 
house is as much like them as they are to each other." 

** We're getting on soKd ground," I said. " The 
party who brought them into the house — who gave you 
the stone monster, who painted your husband's portrait and 
yours, who stuffed the bird; for, doubtless, he was the 
taxidermist. An Admirable Crichton, indeed, in the way 
of accomplishments ! You see, Fanny, you are introduc- 
ing me to new acquaintances. You have not mentioned 
this party before. A man, I presume." 

"I suppose so, sir," she said, with an awestruck look. 

*' Why suppose ?" I asked. '* In such a case, supposi- 
tion is absurd. He is, or is not, a man.'* 

'* Let us call him so, sir. It'll make things easier." 

** Very much easier, and they will be easier still if you 
will be more explicit. I seem to be getting more and 
more in the dark. In looking again upon your portrait, 
Fanny " 

"Yes, sir?'* 

'* I can almost discern a likeness to " 



** For the merciful Lord's sake, sir," she cried, " don't 
say that ! If I thought so, I should go mad. I'm scared 
enough already with what has occurred and the trouble I'm 
in — and Lemon talking in his sleep all the night through, 
and having the most horrible nightmares — and me trem- 
bling and shaking in my bed with what I'm forced to hear 
— it's unbearable, sir ; it's unbearable !" 

I was becoming very excited. Unless Mrs. Lemon 
had lost her senses, there was in this common house a 
frightful and awful mystery. And Mrs. Lemon had sent 
for me to fathom it ! What was I about to hear — what to 
discover ? 

I strove to speak in a calm voice. 

** You say your husband took to his bed yesterday, and 
that you fear he will never rise from it. Then ho is in 
bed at this moment ?'* 

'*Yes, sii'." 



38 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

** Where is his bedroom ?'* 

'* On the first floor back, sir.'* 

*' Can he hear us talking ?" 

*' No, sir." 

'* And you want me to see him ?'* 

''Before you go, sir, if you have no objections. I 
sha'n't know how to thank you." 

** I will do what I can for you, Fanny. First for your 
own sake, and next because there appears to be something 
going on in this house that ought to be brought to light." 

'* You may well say that, sir. Not only in this house, 
but out of this house. The good Lord above only knows 
what is going on ! But Lemon's done nothing wrong, sir. 
I won't have him thought badly of, and I won't have him 
hurt. He's been weak, yes, sir, but he ain't been guilty 
of a wicked, horrible crime. It ain't in his nature, sir. 
When I first begun to hear things that he used to say in 
his sleep, and sometimes when he was awake and lost 
to everything, my hair used to stand on end. I could 
feel it stirring up, giving me the creeps all over my skin, 
and my heart 'd beat that quick that it was a mercy it 
didn't jump out of my body. But after a time, fright- 
ened as I was, and getting no satisfaction out of Lemon, 
who only glared at me when I spoke to him, I thought 
the time might come — and I ain't sure it won't be this 
blessed day — when I should have to come forward as a 
witness to save him from the gallows. I am his wife, 
sir, and if he ain't fit to look after hisself, it's for me to 
look after him, and so, sir, I thought the best thing for 
me to do was to keep a dairy." 

'' A dairy !" I echoed, in wonder. 

'* Yes, sir, a dairy — to put down in writing everything 
what happened at the very time." 

" 0," I said, ** you mean a diary !" 

" If that's what you call it, sir. I got an old lodger's 
book that wasn't all filled up. I keep it locked in my 
desk, sir. Perhaps you'd like to look at it ?" 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 39 

'* It may be as well, Fanny." 

"If," she said, fumbling in her pocket for a key, and 
placing one by one upon the table the most extraordinary 
collection of oddments that female pocket was ever called 
upon to hold, ** if, when we come into this house to retire 
and live genteel, after Lemon had sold his business, I'd 
have known what was to come out of my notion to let the 
second floor front to a single man, I'd have had my feet 
cut off before I'd done it. But I did it for the best, to 
keep down the egspenses. Here it is, sir." 



CHAPTER VII. 

Devlin's first introduction into the mystery. 

She had found the key she had been searching for, and 
now she opened a mahogany desk, from which she took a 
penny memorandum-book. She handed it to me in silence, 
and I turned over the leaves. Most of the pages were 
filled with weekly accounts of her lodgers, in which *'ham 
and eggs, 8tZ. ;" ** a rasher, 5cZ. ;" ** chop, 8(i. ;" ** two 
boyled eggs, ScZ. ;" ** bloater, 2c^. ;" '* crewet, 4(?-. ;" and 
other such-like items appeared again and again. There was 
also, at the foot of pages, receipts for payment, *'Paid, 
Fanny Lemon." And this, in the midst of the presumably 
tragic business upon which we were engaged, brought to my 
mind an anomaly which had often occurred to me, namely, 
that landladies should present their accounts to their 
lodgers in penny memorandum-books, should receive the 
money, should sign a receipt, and then take away the 
books containing their acknowledgment of payment. In 
view of the grave issues impending, it is a trivial matter to 
comment upon, but it was really a relief to me to dwell 
for a moment or two upon it. At the end of the memo- 
randum-book which I was looking through were five or six 



40 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

leaves which had not been utilised for lodgers' accounts, 
and these Mrs. Lemon had pressed into service for her 
diary. She was a bad writer and an indifferent speller, and 
the entries were brief, and, to me, at that point, incom- 
prehensible. 

"I see, Fanny," I said *' that your first entry is made 
on a Thursday, a goo3 many weeks ago." 

"Yes, sir." 

*' I must confess I can make nothing of it. It states 
that Lemon rose at eight o'clock on that morning, that he 
had breakfast at half-past eight, that he ate four slices of 
bread and butter, two rashers of bacon, and two eggs " 

**Ah!" sighed Mrs. Lemon, interrupting me. "He 
had his appetite then, had Lemon ! He ain't got none 
now to speak of." 

"And," I continued, "that he went out of the house 
at nine o'clock with a person whose name is unintelligible. 
It commences, I think, with a D." 

" D-e-v-1-i-n," said Mrs. Lemon, her eyes almost 
starting out of her head as she spelt the name, letter by 
letter. 

**I can make it out now. That is it, Devlin. A 
peculiar name, Fanny." 

*' Everything about him is that, sir, and worse." 

" Had it been a common name, I daresay I should 
have made it out at once. Now, Fanny, who is this 
Devlin ?" 

**You called him a man, sir," said Mrs. Lemon, 
striving unsuccessfully to keep her eyes from the portrait 
of her husband, from the evil-beaked bird, and from the 
image of the stone monster on the mantelshelf. 

The magnetism was not in her, it was in the objects, 
and as she turned from one to the other I also turned — as 
though I were a piece of machinery and she was setting me 
in motion. But it is likely that my eyes would have 
wandered in those directions without her silent prompting. 
One peculiarity of the fascination — growing more horrible 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 41 

every moment — exercised by the three objects, was that I 
could not look upon the one without being compelled to 
complete the triangle formed by the positions in which they 
were placed — the wall, the window, the mantelshelf. 

** It was Devlin, then," I said, '* who painted the 
portraits and stuffed the bird and gave you the stone 
monster ?" 

*^ You've guessed it, sir. It was him." 

Keferring to the entry in the memorandum-book, I 
asked, '* Did this Devlin call for your husband on the 
Thursday morning that they went out together ?" 

** No, sir, he lodged here." 

" Does he lodge here now ?" 

'* Yes, sir, I am sorry to say. If I could only see the 
last of him I'd give thanks on my bended knees morning, 
noon, and night." 

*' Why don't you get rid of him, then ?" 

*' I can't, sir." 

I accepted this as part of the mystery, and did not 
press her on the point, but I asked why she would feel so 
grateful if he were gone from the house. 

''Because," she replied, ''it's all through him that 
Lemon is as he is." 

" Am I to see this man before I leave ?" 

" It ain't for me to say, sir." 

"Is he in the house now ?" 

" No, sir." 

I inwardly resolved if he came into the house before I 
left it, that I would see the man of whom Mrs. Lemon so 
evidently stood in dread. 

" I suppose, Fanny, you will tell me something more 
of him." 

" That is why I asked you to come, sir. If you're 
to do any good in this dreadful affair, you must know 
as much as I do about him." 

" Very well, Fanny." I referred again to the first 
entry in the diary. " After stating that your husband went 



42 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

out with Devlin at nine o'clock in the morning, you say 
that he returned alone at six o'clock in the evening, and 
that he did not stir out of the house again on that night.'* 

*' Yes, sir." 

'* I see that you have made a record of the time Lemon 
went to bed and the time he rose next morning." 

** To which, sir, I am ready to take my gospel oath." 

*' Supposing your gospel oath to be necessary." 

'* It might be. God only knows !" 

I stared at her, beginning to doubt whether she was 
sane ; but there was nothing in her face to justify my sus- 
picion. The expression I saw on it was one of solemn, 
painful, intense earnestness. 

** Go on, sir," she said, *' if you please." 

I turned again to the concluding words of the first entry, 
and read them aloud : 

" Devlin did not come home all night. I locked the 
street-door myself, and put up the chain. I went down at 
seven in the morning, when Lemon was asleep, and the 
chain was up. I went to Devlin's room, the second floor 
front, and Devlin was not there !" 

*' That's true, sir. I can take my gospel oath of that." 

'* Fanny," I said, with the little book in my hand, 
closed, but keeping my forefinger between the leaves upon 
which the first entry was made, ** I cannot go any farther 
until you tell me what all this means." 

** After you've finished what I wrote, sir," was her 
reply, **I'll make a clean breast of it, and tell you every- 
thing, or as much of it as I can remember, from the time 
you saw me last — a good many years ago, wasn't it, sir ? 
— up to this very day." 

I thought it best to humour her, and I looked through 
the remaining entries. They were all of the same kind. 
Mr. Lemon rose in the morning at such a time ; he had 
breakfast at such a time ; he went out at such a time, with 
or without Devlin ; he came home at such a time, with or 
without Devlin ; and so on, and so on. It was a peculiar 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 43 

feature in these entries that Lemon never went out or came 
home without Devlin's name being mentioned. 

I handed the book back to her ; she took it irresolutely, 
and asked, 

** Did you read what I last wrote, sir ?'* 

''Yes, Fanny, the usual thing." 

*' Perhaps, sir, but the time I wrote it ; that is what I 
mean." 

*' No, Fanny, I don't think I noticed that." 

" It was wrote yesterday, sir, and it fixes the time that 
Lemon came home on Friday, and that he didn't stir out 
of the house all the night. If I can swear to anything, 
sir, I can swear to that. Lemon never crossed the street- 
door from the minute he came in on Friday to the minute 
he went out agin yesterday. If it was the last word I 
spoke, I'd swear to it, and it's the truth, and nothing but 
the truth, so help me God !" • 

I was about to inquire why she laid such particular 
stress upon these recent movements of her husband, when 
there flashed into her eyes an expression of such absolute 
terror and horror that my first thought was that a spectre 
had entered the room noiselessly, and was standing at my 
back. Before I had time to turn and look, Mrs. Lemon 
clutched my arm, and gasped, 

*' Do you hear that ? Do you hear that ?'* 



CHAPTER VIII. 

I MAKE THE ACQUAINTANCE OF GEORGE CAKTON'S GUARDIAN, 
MR. KENNETH DOWSETT. 

I HEARD something certainly which by this time, un- 
happily, was neither new nor strange. It was the voice of 
a newsboy calling out the last edition of a newspaper which, 
he asserted with stentorian lungs, contained further par- 



44 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

ticulars of the awful murder in Victoria Park. Amid all 
the jargon he was bawling out, there were really only three 
words clearly distinguishable. ** Murder! Awful murder! 
Discoveries ! Awful discoveries !" 

*' Are you alarmed, Fanny," I asked, *'by what that 
boy is calling out?" 

"Yes," she replied in a whisper, *' it is that, it is 
that!" 

''But you must be familiar with the cry," I observed. 
*' There isn't a street in London that was not ringing with 
it all yesterday." 

*'It don't matter, it don't matter!" she gasped, in 
the most inexplicable state of agitation I had ever beheld. 
*' Lemon never stirred out of the house. I'll take my 
solemn oath of it — my solemn oath." 

I released myself from her grasp, and, running into the 
square, caught up with the newsvendor and bought a paper. 
Before I returned to the house I satisfied myself that the 
paper contained nothing new in the shape of intelligence 
relating to the murder of my friend Melladew's daughter. 
What the man had bawled out was merely a trick to dispose 
of his wares. I had reached the doorstep of Fanny's house 
when my attention was arrested by the figures of two men 
on the opposite side of the road. One was a man of middle 
age, and was a stranger to me. In his companion I imme- 
diately recognised George Carton. The elder man appeared 
to be endeavouring to prevail upon George Carton to leave 
the square, but his arguments had no effect upon Carton, 
who, shaking him off, hurried across the road to speak to 
me. His companion followed him. 

''Any news, sir?" cried George Carton. "Have you 
discovered anything ?" 

"Nothing," I replied, not pausing to inquire why he 
should put a question so direct to me. 

" Nothing !" he muttered. " Nothing ! But it shall be 
brought to light — it shall, or I will not live !" 

" Come, come, my dear boy," said the elder man. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 45 

" What is the use of going on in this frantic manner ? It 
won't better things." 

*' How am I to be sure of that?" retorted Carton. '* It 
won't better things to stand idly aside, and think and think 
about it without ever moving a step." 

** My ward knows you, sir," said Carton's friend, '' and 
I confess I was endeavouring to persuade him to come home 
with me when you were running after the newspaper boy. 
He insisted that your sudden appearance in this square was 
a strange and eventful coincidence." 

*'A strange and eventful coincidence!" I exclaimed, 
and thought, without giving my thought expression, that 
there was something strange in the circumstance of my 
being in Fanny Lemon's house, about to listen to a revela- 
tion which was not unlikely to have some bearing upon the 
tragic event, and in being thus unexpectedly confronted by 
the young man who was to have been married to the mur- 
dered girl. 

" Yes, that is his idea," said Carton's friend ; *' but I 
am really forgetting my manners. Allow me to introduce 
myself. You are acquainted with my ward, George Carton, 
the dearest, most generous-hearted, most magnanimous 
young fellow in the world. I have the happiness to bo his 
guardian. My name is Kenneth Dowsett." 

He was a smiling, fair-faced man, with blue, dreamy 
eyes, and his voice and manners were most agreeable. I 
murmured that I was very pleased to make his acquaint- 
ance. 

**My ward," continued Mr. Dowsett, laying his hand 
affectionately on Carton's shoulder, '* has also an odd idea 
in reference to this dreadful affair, that something signifi- 
cant and pregnant will be discovered in an odd and un- 
accountable fashion. Heaven knows, I don't want to 
deprive him of any consolation he can derive from his 
imaginings. I have too sincere a love for him ; but I 
am a man of the world, and it grieves me to see him 
ndulge in fancies which can lead to no good result. To 



46 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

tell you the honest truth/* Mr. Dowsett whispered to me, 
" I am afraid to let him out of my sight for fear he should 
do violence to himself." 

** My dear guardian," said Carton, " who should know 
better than I how kind and good you are to me ? Who 
should be better able to appreciate the tenderness and con- 
sideration I have always received at your hands ? I may 
be wilful, headstrong, but I am not ungrateful. Indeed, 
sir " — turning to me — ** I am wild with grief and despair, 
and my guardian has the best of reasons for chiding me. 
He has only my good at heart, and I am truly sorry to 
distress him ; but I have my ideas — call them fancies if 
you like — and I must have something to cling to. I will 
not abandon my pursuit till the murderer is brought to 
justice, or till I kill him with my own hands !" 

** That is how he has been going on," said Mr. Dowsett, 
" all day yesterday, and the whole live-long night. He 
hasn't had a moment's sleep." 

** Sleep!" cried Carton. "Who could sleep under 
such agony as I am sujQfering?" 

'* But," I said to the young man, whose intense earnest- 
ness deepened my sympathy for him, ** sleep is necessary. 
It isn't possible to work without it. There are limits to 
human strength, and if you wish to be of any service in 
the clearing up of this mystery, you must conduct yourself 
with some kind of human wisdom." 

'* There, my dear lad," said Mr. Dowsett, "doesn't 
that tally with my advice ? I tried to prevail upon him 
last night to take an opiate " 

** And I wouldn't," interrupted Carton, " and I said I 
would never forgive you if you administered it to me with- 
out my knowledge. Never, never will I take another !" 
Mr. Dowsett looked at him reproachfully, and the young 
man added, " There — I beg your pardon. I did not mean 
to refer to it again." 

"If I have erred at all in my behaviour towards you, 
my dear lad, it is on the side of indulgence. Still," said Mr, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 47 

Dowsett, addressing me, *' that does not mean that I shall 
give up endeavouring to persuade George to do what is 
sensible. As matters stand, who is the better judge, he 
or I ? Just look at the state he is in now, and tell me 
whether he is fit to be trusted alone. My fear is that he 
will break down entirely." 

** I agree with your guardian," I said to Carton ; ** he 
is your best adviser." 

*•' I know, I know," said the young man, " and I ought 
to be ashamed of myself for causing him so much uneasi- 
ness. But, after all, sir, I am not altogether in the 
wrong. I saw Mr. Portland last night, and he said that 
you and he had had an important interview about this 
dreadful occurrence." 

**Iwas not aware," I observed, '* that you were ac- 
quainted with any of the elder members of your poor Lizzie's 
family." 

"I was not," rejoined Carton, "till last night. I 
introduced myself to Mr. Portland, and told him all that 
had passed between poor Lizzie and me. I did not have 
courage enough to go and see Mr. and Mrs. Melladew, 
but Mr. Portland was very kind to me, and he said that 
you had undertaken to unravel the mystery." 

I did not contradict this unauthorised statement on 
the part of Mr. Portland, not wishing to get into an argu- 
ment and prolong the conversation unnecessarily ; indeed, 
it would have been disingenuous to say anything to the 
contrary, for it really seemed to me in some dim way that 
I was on the threshold of a discovery in connection with 
the murder. 

*' Hearing this welcome news from Mr. Portland," 
continued Carton, "you would not have me believe that my 
meeting with you now in a square I never remember to have 
passed through in my life is accidental? No, there is 
more in it than you or I can explain." 

" What brought you here, then ?" I inquired. " "Were 
you aware I was in this neighbourhood ?" 



48 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

**No," replied Carton, ** I had not the slightest idea 
of it." 

*' He followed the newsboy," explained Mr. Dowsett, 
*' of whom you bought a paper just now. These people, 
crying out the dreadful news, excercise a kind of fascination 
over my dear George. I give you my word, he seems to be 
in a waking dream as he follows in their footsteps." 

**Iam in no dream," said Carton. ** I am on the 
alert, on the watch. I gaze at the face of every man and 
woman I pass for signs of guilt. Where is the murderer, 
the monster who took the life of my poor girl ? Not in 
hiding ! It would draw suspicion upon him. He is in the 
streets, and I may meet him. If I do, if I do " 

** You see," whispered Mr. Dowsett to me, " how easy 
it would be for him to get into serious trouble .if he had not 
a friend at his elbow." 

**What good," I said, addressing Carton, '^ can you, 
in reason, expect to accomplish by wearing yourself out in 
the way you are doing?" 

*'It will lead me to the end," replied Carton, putting 
his hand to his forehead; and there was in his tone, despite 
his denial, a dreaminess which confirmed Mr. Dowsett's 
remark, *' and then I do not care what becomes of 
me!" 

Mr. Dowsett gazed at his ward solicitously, and passed 
his arm around him sympathisingly. 

*' Would it be a liberty, sir," said Carton, '*to ask 
what brings you here ?" 

**I came on a visit to an old friend," I replied evasively, 
*'whom I have not seen for years, and who wished to con- 
sult me upon her private affairs." 

** Pardon me for my rudeness," he said, with a pitiful, 
deprecatory movement of his shoulders. **In what you 
have undertaken for Mr. Portland, will you accept my 
assistance ?" 

'*If I see that it is likely to be of any service, yes, 
most certainly." 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 49 

*' Give me something to do," he said in a husky tone, 
** give me some clue to follow. This suspense is maddening." 

** I will do what I can. And now I must leave you. 
My friend will wonder what is detaining me." 

** But one word more, sir. Have you heard any news 
of Mary?" 

** None. So far as I know, she is still missing. If we 
could find her we should, perhaps, learn the truth." 

'* Should you need me," said Carton, *' you know my 
address. I gave you my card yesterday, but you may have 
mislaid it. Here is another. I live with my guardian. 
It is a good thing for me that I am not left alone. But, 
good God ! what am I saying ? I am alone — alone ! My 
Lizzie, my poor Lizzie, is dead !" 

As I turned into the house I caught a last sight of him 
standing irresolutely on the pavement, his guardian in the 
kindest and tenderest manner striving to draw him away. 

Fanny was waiting for me at the door of her little 
parlour. There was a wild apprehensive look in her eyes 
as they rested on my face. 

" What has kep you so long, sir?" she asked in a low 
tone of fear. 

** I came across an acquaintance accidentally," I replied. 

" A policeman, sir, or a detective ?" 

** Good heavens, neither !" I exclaimed. 

A sigh of relief escaped her, but immediately after- 
w^ards she became anxious again. 

** You was talking a long time, sir." 

" It was not my fault, Fanny." 

** Was — was Lemon's name mentioned, sir ?" 

''No." 

** Was there nothing said about him ?" 

'*Not a word." 

This assurance plainly took a weight from her mind. 
She glanced at the paper I held in my hand, and said : 

*' Is there anything new in it, sir? Is the murderer 
caught ?" 



50 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

''No," I replied; *'the paper contains nothing that 
has not appeared in a hundred other newspapers yesterday 
and to-day. Fanny, I am about to speak to you now very 
seriously." 

" I'm listening, sir." 

'*Has Mr. Lemon, your husband, anything to do with 
this dreadful deed ?" 

*' He had no hand in it, sir, as I hope for mercy ! I'll 
tell you everything I know, as I said I would ; but it must 
be in my own way, and you mustn't interrupt me." 

I decided that it would be useless to put any further 
questions to her, and that I had best listen patiently to 
what she was about to impart. I told her that I would 
give her my best attention, and I solemnly impressed upon 
her the necessity of concealing nothing from me. She 
nodded, and pouring out a glass of water, drank it off. A 
silence of two or three minutes intervened before she had 
sufficiently composed herself to commence, and during that 
silence the feeling grew strong within me that Providence 
had directed my steps to her house. 

The tale she related I now set down in her own words 
as nearly as I can recall them. Of aU the stories I had 
ever heard or read, this which she now imparted to me was 
the most fantastic and weird, and it led directly to a result 
which to the last hour of my life I shall think of with 
wonder and amazement. 



CHAPTER IX. 

FANNY LEMON EELATES UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SHE 
RESOLVED TO LET HER SECOND FLOOR FRONT. 

*' I MUST go back sir," she commenced, ** a few years, 
else you won't be able to understand it properly. I'll run 
over them years as quick as possible, and won't say more 
About e^m than is neeessary, because I knovv you are ae 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 5 1 

anxious as I am to come to the horrible thing that has just 
happened. I was a happy woman in your angel father's 
house, but when Lemon come a-courting me I got that 
unsettled that I hardly knew what I was about. Well, sir, 
as you know, we got married, and I thought I was 
made for life, and that honey was to be my portion ever- 
more. I soon found out my mistake, though I don't sup- 
pose I had more to complain of than other women. In the 
early days things went fairly well between me and Lemon. 
We had our little fall-outs and our little differences, but 
they was soon made up. We ain't angels, sir, any of us, 
and when we're tied together we soon find it oat. I dare- 
say it's much of a muchness on the men's side as well as 
on our'n. Lemon is quick-tempered, but it's all over in a 
minute, and he forgits and forgives. Leastways, that is 
how it used to be with him ; he would fly out at me like a 
flash of lightning, and be sorry for it afterwards ; and one 
good thing in him was that he never sulked and never 
brooded. It ain't so now ; he's growed that irritable that 
it takes more than a woman's patience to bear with him ; 
he won't stand contradiction, and the littlest of things'!! 
frighten him and make him as weak as a child unborn. 
There was only a couple of nights ago. He'd been going 
on that strange that it was as much as I could do to keep 
from screaming out loud and alarming the neighbourhood, 
and right in the middle of it all he fell asleep quite sudden. 
It was heavenly not to hear the sound of his voice, but I 
couldn't help pitying him when I saw him laying there, with 
the prespiration starting out of his forehead, and I took a 
cool handkercher and wiped the damp away, and smoothed 
his hair back from his eyes. 

" He woke up as sudden as he went off, and when 
he felt my hand on his head he burst out crying and begged 
me to forgive him. Not for the way he'd been storming 
at me — no, sir, he didn't beg my forgiveness for that, but 
for something else he wouldn't or couldn't understandingly 
Explain I 



5 2 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

" ' What do you mean by it all ?' I said. ' What do 
you mean by it all?' 

**But though I as good as went on my bended knees 
to git it out of him, it wasn't a bit of good. I might 
as well have spoke to a stone stature. Lemon's had a 
scare, sir, a frightful awful scare, and I don't know what 
to think. 

*' When I married him, sir, he kep a saloon, as I dare- 
say you remember hearing of; shaving threepence, hair- 
cutting fourpence, shampooing ditter. He had a wax 
lady's head in the winder as went round by machinery, and 
Lemon kep it regularly wound up with her hair dressed 
that elegant that it would have been a credit to Burlington 
Arcade. There used to be a crowd round his winder all 
day long, and girls and boys 'd come a long way to have a 
good look at it ; and though I say it, she was worth look- 
ing at. Her lips was like bits of red coral, and you could 
see her white teeth through 'em; her skin was that pearly 
and her cheeks that rosy as I never saw equalled ; and as 
for her eyes, sir, they was that blue that they had to be 
seen to be believed. She carried her head on one side as 
she went round and round, looking slantways over her 
right shoulder, and, taking her altogether, she was as 
pritty a exhibition as you could see anywheres in London. 
It brought customers to Lemon, there was no doubt of 
that ; he was doing a splendid trade, and we put by a matter 
of between four and five pounds a week after all expenses 
paid. It did go agin me, I own, when I discovered that 
Lemon had female customers, and, what's more, a private 
room set apart to do 'em up in ; but when I spoke to him 
about he said, with a stern eye : 

" * What do you object to ? The ladies ?' 
** * Not so much the ladies, Lemon,' I answered, ' as 
the private room.' 

*' * 0,' said he, ' the private room ?' 

" ' Yes,' said I ; * I don't think it proper.' 

'^ ' Don't you ?' said he, getting nasty. * Well, I do, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 53 

and there's a end of it. You mind your business, Fanny, 
and I'll mind mine.' 

** I saw that he meant it and didn't intend to give 
way, and I consequenchually held my tongue. Even when 
I was told that Lemon often went out to private houses 
to dress ladies' hair I thought it best to say nothing. I 
had my feelings, but I kep 'em to myself. I'm for peace 
and harmony, sir, and I wish everybody was like me. 

** One night Lemon give me a most agreeable surprise. 
He came home and said : 

** ' Fanny, what would you like best in the world ?' 

'* There was a question to put to a woman ! I thought 
of everything, without giving anything a name. The truth 
is I was knocked over, so to speak. 

"Lemon spoke up agin. 'What would you say, 
Fanny, if I told you I was going to sell the business and 
retire ?' 

** *No, Lemon I' I cried, for I thought, he was trying 
me with one of his jokes. 

** * Yes, Fanny,' he said, * it's what I've made up my 
mind to. I've been thinking of it a long time, and now 
I'm going to do it.' 

" I saw that he was in real rightdown earnest, and I 
was that glad that I can't egspress. 

** * Lemon,' I said, when I got cool, * can we afford 
it?' 

** * Old woman,' he answered ' we've got a matter of a 
hundred and fifty pound a year to live on, and if that ain't 
enough for the enjoyment of life, I should like to know how 
much more you want ?' 

*'He had his light moments had Lemon before certain 
things happened. People as didn't know him well thought 
him nothing but a grumpy, crusty man. Well, sir, he icas 
that mostly, but with them as was intimate he cracked his 
joke now and then, and it used to do my heart good to 
hear him. 

** iSo it was settled, sir. Lemon actually sold his 



54 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

business, and we retired. Five year ago almost to the 
very day we took this house and become fashionable. 

'* It was a bit dull at first. Lemon missed his shop, 
and his customers, and his wax lady, that he'd growed 
to look upon almost like flesh and blood ; but he practised 
on my head for hours together with his crimping irons and 
curling tongs, and that consoled him a little. He used to 
pretend it was all real, and that I was one of his reg'lars, 
and while he was gitting his things ready he'd speak about 
the weather and the news in a manner quite perfessional. 
When he come into the room of a morning at eleven or 
twelve o'clock with his white apern on and his comb stuck 
in his hair, and say, * Good morning, ma'am, a beautiful 
day,' — which was the way he always begun, whether it was 
raining or not — I'd take my seat instanter in the chair, and 
he'd begin to operate. I humoured him, sir ! it was my 
duty to ; and though he often screwed my hair that tight 
round the tongs that I felt as if my eyes was starting out 
of my head, I never so much as murmured. 

*' We went on in this way for nearly three years, and 
then Lemon took another turn. Being retired, and living, 
like gentlefolk, on our income, we got any number of circu- 
lars, and among 'em a lot about companies, and how to 
make thousands of pounds without risking a penny. I 
never properly understood how it came about ; all I know 
is that Lemon used to set poring over the papers and 
writing down figgers and adding 'em up, and that at last he 
got speculating and dabbling and talking wild about making 
millions. From that time he spoke about nothing but 
Turks, and Peruvians, and Egyptians, and Bulls, and 
Bears, and goodness only knows what other outlandish 
things ; and sometimes he'd come home smiling, and some- 
times in such a dreadful temper that I was afraid to say a 
word to him. One thing, after a little while, I did under- 
stand, and that was that Lemon was losing money instead 
of making it by his goings on with his Turks, and Peruvians, 
and Egyptians, and his Bulls and Bears'; and as I was 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 55 

beginning to git frightened as to how it was all going to 
end, I plucked up courage to say, 

" * Lemon, is it worth while T 

** And all the thanks I got was, 

'* * Jest you hold your tongue. Haven't I got enough 
to worrit me that you must come nagging at me ?' 

'* He snapped me up so savage that I didn't dare to 
say another word, but before a year was out he sung to 
another tune. He confessed to me with tears in his eyes 
that he'd been chizzled out of half the money we retired on, 
and it was a blessed relief to me to hear him say, 

** * I've done with it, Fanny, for ever. They don't rob me 
no longer with their Bulls and their Bears.' 

** * A joyful hour it is to me. Lemon,' I cried, ' to hear 
them words. The life I've led since you took up with 
Bulls and Bears and all the other trash, there's no describing. 
But now we can be comfortable once more. Never mind 
the money you've lost ; I'll make it up somehow.' 

** It was then I got the idea of letting the second floor 
front. As it's turned out, sir, it was the very worst idea 
that ever got into my head, and what it's going to lead to 
the Lord above only knows. 



CHAPTER X. 

DEVLIN THE BARBEB TAKES FANNY'S FIRST FLOOR FRONT. 

*' Our first lodger, sir, was a clerk in the City, and he 
played the bassoon that excruciating that our lives become 
a torment. The neighbours all complained, and threatened 
to bring me and Lemon and the young man and his bassoon 
before the magerstrates. I told the clerk that he'd have 
to give up the second floor front or the bassoon, and that 
he might take his choice. He took his choice, and went 



5 6 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

away owing me one pound fourteen, and I haven't seen the 
colour of his money from that day to this. 

'* Our second lodger was a printer, who worked all night 
and slep all day. I could have stood him if it hadn't 
turned out that he'd run away from his wife,^who found out 
where he was living, and give us no peace. She was a 
dreadful creature, and I never saw her sober. She smelt of 
gin that strong that you knew a mile off when she was 
coming. ' That's why I left her, Mrs. Lemon,' the poor 
man said to me ; * she's been the ruin of me. Three homes 
has she sold up, and she's that disgraced me that it makes 
me wild to hear the sound of her voice. The law won't help 
me, and what am I to do ?' I made him a cup of tea, and 
said I was very sorry for him, but that she wasn't my wife, 
and that I'd take it kind of him if he'd find some other 
lodgings. All he said was, ' Very well, Mrs. Lemon, I can't 
blame you ; but don't be surprised if you read in the papers 
one day that I am brought up for being the death of her, or 
that I've made a hole in the water. If she goes on much 
longer, one of them things is sure to happen.' He went 
away sorrowful, and paid me honourable to the last farthing. 

*' It wasn't encouraging, sir, but I didn't lose heart. 
* The third time's lucky,' I said to myself, as I put the bill 
in the winder agin, little dreaming what was to come of it. 
It remained there nigh on a fortnight, when a knock come 
at the street-door. 

*'Ido all the work in the house myself. A body may 
be genteel without keeping a parcel of servants to eat you 
out of house and home, and sauce you in the bargain. A 
knock come at the street-door, as I said. If I'd known what 
I know now, the party as knocked might have knocked till 
he was blue in the face, or dropped down in a fit before he'd 
got me to answer him. But I had no suspicions, and I went 
and opened the door, and there I saw a tall, dark man, with 
a black moustache, curled up at the ends. 

**' You've got a bill in the winder,' said he, *of a 
room to let.' 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 57 

'^ ' Yes, sir,* I answered, hardly giving myself time to 
look at him, I was that glad of the chance of letting the 
room ; ' would you like to see it ?' 

** 'I should,' said he. 

" And in he walked, and up the stairs, after me, to 
the second floor front. It didn't strike me at the time, 
but it did often afterwards when I listened for 'em in vain, 
that I didn't hear his footsteps as he foUered me up- stairs. 
Never, from the moment he entered this house, have I 
heard the least sound from his feet, and yet he wears 
what looks like boots. He's never asked me to clean 'em, 
and I'd rather be torn to pieces with red hot pinchers than 
do it now. 

" * It's a cheerful room, sir,' said I to him. ' Looks 
out on the square.' 

** 'Charming,' he said, 'the room, the square, you, 
everything.' 

** ' That's a funny way of talking,' I thought, and I 
said out loud, * Do you think it will suit, sir ?' 

** * Do I think it will suit ?' he said. * I am sure it 
will suit. I take it from this minute. What's the rent ?' 

** * With attendance, sir ?' I asked. 

*''With or without attendance,' he answered; *it 
matters not.' 

'*Not *It don't matter,' as ordinary people say, but 
* It matters not,' for all the world like one of them 
foreign fellers we see on the stage. I told him the rent, 
reckoning attendance, and he said : 

** * Good. The bargain is made. I am yours, and you 
are mine.' 

** And then ho laughed in a way that almost made my 
hair stand on end. It wasn't the laugh of a human 
creature ; there was something unearthly about it. As a 
rule, a body's pleased when another body laughs, but this 
laugh made me shiver all over ; you know the sensation, 
sir, like cold water running down your back. Then, and a 
good many times since when he's been speaking or laugh- 



S8 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

ing, I felt myself turn faint with sech a swimming sensa- 
tion that I had to ketch hold of something to keep myself 
from sinking to the ground. 

''*Ihegyour pardon, sir,' I said, when I come to, 
' but if you've no objections I'd like a reference.* 

** * Of course you would,' he said, laughing again, ' and 
here it is.' 

'* With that he gives me a severing, and orders me to 
light the fire. There's that about him as makes it unpos- 
sible not to do as he orders you to, so on my knees I went 
there and then, and lit the fire. 

*^ * Good,' he said. * I couldn't have done it "better 
myself. Mrs. Lemon — ' and you might have knocked me 
down with a feather when I heard him speak my name. 
How did he get to know it ? I never told him. — * Mrs. 
Lemon,' said he, *I see in your face that you'd like to 
ask me a question or two.' 

:. " * I would, sir,' I said, shaking and trembling all 
over. ' If I may make so bold, sir, are you a married 
man?' 

" He put his hand on his heart, and, grinning all over 
his face, answered, * Mrs. Lemon, I am, and have ever 
been, single.' 

*' ' Might I be so bold as to ask your name, sir ?' I said. 

*' ' Devlin,' said he. 

" ' Dev — what ?' I garsped. 

** ' Lin,' said he. * Devlin. I'U spell it for you. 
D-e-v-1-i-n. Have you got it well in your mind ?' 

** * I have, sir,' I said, very faint. 

** ' Good,' said he, pointing to the door. 'Go.* 

" I had to go, sir, and I went, and that is how Mr. 
Devlin become our lodger. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 59 



CHAPTER XL 

DEVLIN PERFOEMS SOME WONDERFUL TRICKS, FASCINATES 
MR. LEMON, AND STRIKES TERROR TO THE SOXHi OF FANNY 
LEMON. 

** That very night Mr. Devlin come down to this room, 
without *with your leave or hy your leave,' where Lemon 
and me was setting, having our regular game of cribbage 
for a ha'penny a game, and droring a chair up to the table, 
he begun to talk as though he'd known us all his life. And 
he can talk, sir, by the hour, and it never seens to tire 
him, whatever it does with other people. Lemon was 
took with him, and couldn't keep his eyes off him. No 
more could I, sir. No more could you if he was here. 
You might try your hardest, but it wouldn't be a bit of 
good. There's something in him as forces you to look at 
him — ^just as there's something in that bird, and the stone 
figger on the mantelshelf, and Lemon's portrait as forces 
you to look at them, I've found out the reason of that. 
When Devlin ain't here he leaves his sperrit behind him — 
that's how it is. I was never frightened of the dark 
before he come into the house, but now the very thought 
of going into a room of a night without a candle makes 
me shiver. And many and many's the time as I've been 
going up-stairs that I've turned that faint there's no describ- 
ing. He's been behind me, sir, coming up after me, step 
by step. I can't see him, I can't hear him, but I feel 
him ; and yet there ain't a soul in sight but me. At them 
times I'm frightened to look at the wall for fear of seeing 
his shadder. 

** Well, sir, on the night that he come into this 
parlour he goes on talking and talking, and then proposes 
a hand at cribbage, which Lemon was only too glad to say 
yes to. 



6o DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

*' ' Mrs. Lemon must play/ said Devlin ; ' we'll have 
a three -handed game.* 

**I shouldn't have minded being left out, especially as 
our cribbage -board only pegs for two, but his word was lore. 
So we begun to play, and Devlin marks his score with a 
red pencil. 

** The things he did while we played made my flesh 
creep. He threw out his card for crib without looking at 
it, and told us how much was in crib while the cards was 
laying backs up on the table ; and when Lemon and me, 
both of us slow counters, began to reckon what we had in 
our hands, Mr. Devlin, like a flash of lightning, cried out 
how many we was to take. We played five games, and he 
won 'em all. Then he said he'd show us some tricks. 
Sir, the like of them tricks was never seen before or since. 
I've seen conjurers in my time, but not one who could hold 
a candle to Mr. Devlin. He made the cards fly all over 
the room, and while he held the pack in his hand and you 
was looking at 'em, they'd disappear before your very 
eyes. 

*' * Where would you like 'em to be ?' he asked. 
* Underneath you, on your chair ? Git up ; you're sitting 
on 'em. In your workbox ? Open it and behold 'em.' 

*' And there they was, sir, sure enough, underneath 
me, though I'd never stirred from my seat, or in my work- 
box, which was at the other end of the room. It wasn't 
conjuring, sir, it was something I can't put a name to, and 
it wasn't natural. I could hardly move for fright, and as 
I looked at Mr. Devlin, he seemed to grow taller and 
thinner, and his black eyes become blacker, and his 
moustaches curled up to his nose till they as good as met. 
But Lemon didn't feel as I felt ; he was that delighted that 
he kep on crying — - 

** * Wonderful ! Beautiful ! Do it agin, Mr. Devlin, 
do it agin. Show us another.' 

**I don't know when I've seen him so excited; that 
Devlin had bewitched him. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 6i 

n ( We're brothers you and me,' said Devlin to him. 

* I am yours, and you are mine, and we'll never part.' 

*' The very words, sir, he'd used to me. 

" ' Hooray !' cried Lemon, * we're brothers, you and 
me, and we'll never, never part.' 

** * I once kep a barber's shop myself,' said Devlin, 

** ' What !' cried Lemon, * are you one of us ?' 

* ' * I am, ' said Devlin, * and I've worked for the best in 
the trade — for Truefitt and Shipwright, and all the rest of 
'em. I've been abroad studying the new styles. I'll show 
you something as '11 make you open your eyes, something 
splendid.' 

** And before I knew where I was, sir, Devlin, in his 
shirt-sleeves, had whipped a large towel round my neck, 
and had my hair all down, and was beginning to dress it. 
Where he got the towel from, and the combs, and the curl- 
ing-tongs, and the fire, goodness only knows. I didn't see 
him take them from nowhere, but there they was on the 
table, and there was Devlin, with his hands in my hair, 
frizzling it up and corkscrewing it, and twisting and twirling 
it, and me setting in the chair for all the world as if I'd 
been turned into stone. But though I didn't have the 
power to move, I could think about things, and what come 
into my head was that the man as had taken the second 
floor front must be some unearthly creature, sprung from 
I won't mention where. 

** *Do you really believe so?' whispered Devlin in my ear. 

** 'Believe what ?' I asked, though my throat was that 
hot and dry that I wondered how he could make out what I 
said. 

**/That I am an unearthly creature,' he said softly, 

* sprung from a place which shouldn't be mentioned to ears 
perlite ?' 

** If I was petrified before, sir, you may guess how I felt 
when I found out that he knew what I was thinking of. 

*' * You shouldn't be, you shouldn't be,' he whispered 



62 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

" * Shouldn't be what ?' I managed to git out, though 
the words almost stuck to the roof of my mouth. 

" * Sorry you ever took me as a lodger,' he said with a 
grin. ' Fye, fye ! It isn't grateful of you after sech a 
good reference as I give you. Something '11 happen to 
you if you don't mind.' 

** Well, sir, it was true I'd thought it, but I'll take my 
solemn oath I never spoke it. It was jest as though 
that Devlin had my brains spread open before him, and 
could see every thought as was passing through 'em. I was 
so overcome that I as good as swooned away, and I believe 
I should have gone off in a dead faint if he hadn't put 
something strong to my nose as made me almost sneeze my 
head off. And while I was sneezing, there was Devlin 
and Lemon laughing fit to burst theirselves. All the 
time he was dressing my hair that sort of thing was 
going on; there wasn't a thought that come into my 
head that he didn't tell me of the minute it was there, 
till he got me into that state that I hardly knew whether 
I was asleep or awake. At last, sir, he finished me up, 
and stepping back a little, he waved his hand and said to 
Lemon, 

*' * There ! what do you think of that ?' meaning my 
hair. 

'* * Wonderful! Beautiful!' cried Lemon, clapping his 
hands and jumping up and down in his chair, he was that 
egscited. 'I never saw nothing like it in all my whole 
born days. It's a new style — quite a new style, and so 
taking! The ladies '11 go wild over it. Where did you 
git it from ?' 

" * From a place,' said Devlin, grinning right in my 
face, ' as shall be nameless.' 

" * But you'll tell me some day, won't you ?' cried 
Lemon. * Because there might be other styles there as 
good as that, and we could make our fortunes out of 'em.' 
'* * I'll take you there one day,' said Devlin, with ai> 
Unearthly laugh, * and you shall see for yourself*' 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

** *Do, do !* screamed Lemon. ' I'd give anythin, 
the world to go there with you !' 

'* * Good Lord save him !' I thought, looking atLemc 
whose eyes was almost starting out of his head. * He's 
going mad, he's going mad !' 

*' * As to making our fortunes,' Devlin went on, *why 
not ? It shall he so.' 

'* * It shall, it shall !' cried Lemon. 

'* * We'll make hunderds, thousands,' said Devlin. 

** * We will, we will !' cried Lemon. ' Fanny shall ride 
in her own kerridge.' 

" * Fanny shall,' said Devlin. 

** ' The Lord forbid,' I thought, ' that I should ever ride 
in a kerridge bought at sech a price !' 

'* I thought more free now that Devlin's hands was not 
in my hair; he didn't seem to be able to read what I was 
thinking of so long as we was apart. 

'* *I bind myself to you,' said Devlin to my poor dear 
Lemon, ' and you bind yourself to me. The bargain's made. 
Your hand upon it.' 

''Lemon gave him his hand, and whether it was fancy 
or not, it seemed to me that Devlin grew and grew till he 
almost touched the ceiling ; and that, while he was bending 
over Lemon and looking down on him, like one of them 
vampires you've read of, sir. Lemon kep growing smaller 
and smaller till he was no better than a bag of bones. 

"*We go out to-morrer morning,' said Devlin, 'you 
and me together, to look for a shop. Is it agreed ?' 

" ' It is,' answered Lemon, ' it is.' 

"'We will set London on fire,' said Devlin. 

"'We will, we will,' said Lemon; 'and we'll have 
shops all over it.' 

" 'You're a man of sperrit,' said Devlin. 'I kiss your hand.' 

" He said that to mc ; but I clapped my hands behind 
my back. 

"'If you refuse,' said Devlin, smiling at m© all th« 
while, *I must show Lemon another iityl©.' 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 
* And he made as though he was about to dress my 

'* * No, no !' I screamed ; ' anything but that, anythmg 
.utthat!'* 

*'I give him my hand, and he kissed it. His mouth 
,vas like burning hot coals, and I wondered I wasn't scarred. 

*' * Don't forgit,' said Lemon, * to-morrow morning.' 

" ' I'll not forgit,' said Devlin. ' Till then, adoo.' 

** The next minute he was gone. 

'* No sooner did he close the door behind him than I 
felt as if tons weight had been lifted off me. I started 
up, and put my hands to my hair, intending to pull it 

down. 

** ' What are you doing ?' cried Lemon, starting up too, 
and seizing hold of me. * Don't touch it— don't touch it ! 
I must study the style. I never saw sech a thing m all 
my life. It's more than wonderful, its stoopendous. You 
look like another woman. Jest take a sight of yerself in 

the glass.' 

" I did take a sight of myself in the glass, and if you 11 
believe me, sir, it seemed as if my head was covered with 
millions of little serpents, curling and twisting all sorts of 
wavs at once ; and, as I looked at 'em moving, sir— which 
might have been or might not have been, but so it was to 
me— I saw millions of eyes shining and glaring at me. 

*' ' 0, Lemon, Lemon !' I cried, bursting out into tears; 
* what have you done, what have you done ?' 

**'Done?' said Lemon, rubbing his hands; he'd let 
mine go. 'Why, gone into partnership with the finest hair- 
dresser as ever was seen. Our fortune's made, Fanny, our 
fortune's made !' 

** I tried to reason with him, but I might as well have 
spoke to stone. He was that worked up that he wouldn't 
listen to a word I said. All the satisfaction I could git out 
of him was — 

*' * A good night's work, Fanny ; a good night's work I 

'' If he said it once he said it fifty times. But I knew 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



65 



it was the worst night's work Lemon had ever done, and that 
it'd come to bad. And it has, sir. 



CHAPTER XII. 

FANNY LEMON RELATES HOW HER HUSBAND, AFTER BECOM- 
ING BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH DEVLIN THE BARBER, 
SEEMED TO BE HAUNTED BY SHADOWS AND SPIRITS. 

'* I HAD my way about my hair before I went to bed. I 
waited till Lemon was asleep, and then I brushed all the 
serpeats out, and did it up in a plain knot behind. I felt 
then like a Christian, and I said my prayers before I stepped 
in between the sheets. I didn't sleep much ; Lemon was 
that restless he torsed and torsed the whole night long, and 
his eyes was quite bloodshot when he got up. While he 
was dressing I heard Devlin call out : 

*' * Lemon, I'm coming down to have breakfast with 
you.* 

** 'Do,' cried Lemon. "You're heartily welcome.* 

"I was down-stairs at the time — I always git up before 
Lemon, to make the place straight and cook the breakfast 
— and I heard what passed. Lemon, half-dressed, come 
running down to me, and told me to be sure to gjt some- 
thing nice for breakfast, and not to cut the rashers too 
thin. 

** 'Go to the fish-shop,* he said, * and git a haddick. 
We must treat him well, Fanny, or he might cry ofif the 
bargain he made with me last night.' 

** I thought to myself I knew how I'd treat him if I had 
Day way, but it wouldn't have done jest then for me to go 
agin Lemon. There was times when he said a thing that 
it had to be done, and that was one of 'era. So I goes to 
the fishmonger's and gits a haddick, and I cooks three 
large rashers and six eggs — t^ree fried and three biled 

F 



66 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

— and then Lemon and Devlin they come in together 
as thick as thieves. Devlin had been telling Lemon 
something as had made him laugh till his face was 
purple. 

*' * You never heard sech a man/ said Lemon to me. 
' He*s one in a thousand.* 

** * He's one in millions,' I thought, and I kep my 
head down for fear Devlin should suspect what I was 
thinkkig of; * and there's only one as ever 1 heard of.' 

** Devlin give me good morning and shook hands with 
me ; I didn't dare to refuse him. If he'd offered to kiss 
me, Lemon wouldn't have objected, I believe, though 
there was a time when he was that jealous of me that a 
man hardly dared to look at me. But those happy days 
was gone for ever. 

**I didn't have much appetite for breakfast, and no 
more had Lemon, but Devlin made up for the pair of us. 
There was the haddick, and there was the three rashers, and 
there was the six eggs. Devlin pretty well cleared the 
lot. It was Lemon, I must say, who pushed him on to 
it, though it didn't seem to me as he wanted much 
persuading. He had the appetite of a shark. It didn't 
give me no pleasure to hear him praise my cooking and 
to hear him say to Lemon that he'd got a treasure of a 
wife. 

** ' I have,' said Lemon ; ' Fanny's a good sort.' 

**When breakfast was over and everything cleared 
away Lemon asked Devlin if he was ready, and Devlin said 
he was, and they went out arm in arm jest as if they was 
brothers. 

** They come home late, and Lemon was more excited 
than ever. 

** * It's all settled, Fanny,* he said, * I've taken another 
shop, and Devlin and me's gone into partnership. We're 
going to work together, and we'll astonish your weak 
nerves.' 

** As if they hadn't been astonished enough already. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 67 

** I asked Lemon where the shop was that he'd taken, 
but he wouldn't tell me. 

** * It's a secret,' he said, * between Devlin and me. 
What an egstrordinary man he is, Fanny ! What a glori- 
ous, glorious fellow ! What a fortunate thing that he saw 
the bill in our winder of a room to let, and that he didn't 
go somewheres else ! It's a providence, Fanny, that's what 
it is.' 

** I wasn't to be put down so easy, and I tried my 
hardest to git out of Lemon where the shop was, but 
he wouldn't let on. 

" * I've promised Devlin,' he said, ' not to say a word 
about it to a living soul. Perhaps we sha'n't keep it open 
long ; perhaps we shall shut it up after a month or two 
and take another ; perhaps we shall do a lot of trade at 
private houses. It's all as Devlin likes. I've give him 
the lead. There never was sech a man.' 

" That was all I could git out of him. Devlin had 
him tight; 'twas nothing but Devlin this, and Devlin 
that, and Devlin t'other. Devlin was as close as he was ; 
I couldn't git nothing out of him. 

** * I love wimmin,' he said, * but they must be kep in 
their place. Eh, Lemon ?' 

'* That was a nice thing for a wife to *hear, wasn't 
it? 

" * Yes,* said Lemon : ' you mind your business, 
Fanny, and we'll mind our'n.' 

** They went out the next morning together, and kep 
out late agin ; and so it went on for a matter of four or 
five weeks. Then there come a change. From being in 
love with Devlin, Lemon begun to be frightened of him. 
I saw it in his face every morning when they went away. 
Instead of Lemon's taking Devlin's arm as he did at first, 
it was Devlin who used to take Lemon's arm, jest above 
the elber jint, as much as to say : 

" *I've got you, and I'm not going to let you escape 
me.' 



68 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

** And instead of Lemon being brisk and lively and 
cgscited of a morning, as though he was going for an ex- 
cursion in a pleasure van, he got grumpy and dull, as 
though he was going to the lock-up to answer for some 
dreadful thing he'd done. I spoke to him about it, but if 
he was close before, he was a thousand times closer now. 

** * Don't ask me nothing, Fanny,' he'd say ; * don't put 
questions to me about him, I daren't say a word, I 
daren't, I daren't !' 

" That didn't stop me ; he was my husband, and if 
strange things was being done, who had a better right than 
mo to know all about 'em ? But it was all no use ; I 
couldn't git nothing out of him. 

" * If you don't shut up,' he said, quite savage like, 
* I'll set Devlin on to you, and you'll have cause to re- 
member it to the last day of your life !* 

* * Jest as if I haven't got cause to remember it ! If I 
lived a thousand years I couldn't forgit what's happened. 

*' If I could have got rid of my lodger I shouldn't have 
thought twice about it ; out he'd have gone ; but he paid 
me reg'lar, did Devlin, and always in advance, so that I 
had no egscuse for giving him notice. And even if I had, 
I ain't at all sure that I should have had the courage to do it. 

*'It begun to trouble me more than I can say, that I 
never heard him come in or go out, and that I never caught 
the sound of his footsteps on the stairs or in the passage, 
and that, when he might have been in the Canary Islands 
for all I knew, I'd turn my head and see him standing 
at the back of me, without my having the least idea how 
he got into the room. 

** * Here I am, you see, Mrs. Lemon,' he'd say ; * back 
agin, like a bad penny. You're glad to see me, I'm sure. 
Say you're glad.' 

** And I had to, whether I liked it or not. Then he'd 
grin and wag his head at me, and sometimes say if he 
knew where there was another woman like me he'd stick 
up to her. * Lord have mercy,' I used to think, * on the 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 69 

woman who'd give you a second look unless she was obliged 
to!' 

** I grew to be that shaky and trembly that my life was 
a perfect misery ; and so was Lemon's. But I used to 
speak about it, which was a little relief, while poor Lemon 
would never so much as open his lips. I pitied him a 
deal more than I did myself. I did say to him once : 

** * Lemon, let's call a broker in when Devlin's not 
here, and sell the furniture, and run away,' 

** *You talk like a fool,' said Lemon. 'If we was to 
hide ourselves in the bowels of the earth he'd ferret us out.' 

** Then Lemon said one night that Devlin was going to 
paint our portraits. 

** ' He sha'n't paint mine,' I cried, * not if he orfered to 
frame it in dymens !' 

** The words was no sooner out of my lips than I 
turned almost to a jelly at hearing Devlin's voice at the 
back of me, saying, 

** * Nonsense, nonsense, Mrs. Lemon ! Surely it ain't 
me you're speaking of ? Don't they paint all the Court 
beauties, and ain't you as good as the best of them ? 
Your face is like milk and roses, and I'm the artist that's 
going to do justice to it. You can't refuse me ; you won't 
have the heart to refuse me.* 

** Which I hadn't, with him so close to me. He 
seemed to take the backbone out of me ; I used to feel 
quite limp when he took me up Uke that. He did paint 
my picture, and there it is, stuck on the wall ; and though 
it's come over me a hunderd times to drag it down and burn 
it, it's more than I dare do for fear of something dreadful 
happening. 

**I can't describe what I went through while that pic- 
ture was being painted. There was I, setting like a stature 
in the position that Devlin placed me ; and there was 
Lemon, leaning for'ard, with his hands clarsping the 
arms of his chair, and his eyes glaring like a ghost's; 
ftnd there was Devlin, waving his brush and painting me, 



70 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

making all sorts of strange remarks, and singing all sorts 
of songs in all sorts of languages. He could do that, sir ; 
I don't believe there's a language in the world that he 
can't speak, and I don't believe there's anything in the 
world, or out of it, for that matter, that he doesn't know. 
"NoWy where did he get it all from} 

" I used to wonder about his age. It was a regular 
puzzler. Sometimes he looked quite young, and sometimes 
he looked as old as Methusalem. I plucked up courage once 
to ask him. 

** * What do you say to twenty ?' he answered. * Or if 
that won't do, what do you say to eighty, or a couple of 
hunderd ?* 

'* When my portrait was finished he pretended to go 
into egstacies over it, and said that it really ought to be 
egshibited. 

" 'Mind you keep it as a airloom,* he said. 'You've 
no notion what it's worth.* 

** Then he took Lemon's picture, and it was a comfort 
to me that he painted my husband up-stairs. Every night 
for a fortnight Lemon went up to Devlin's room, and set 
there for two or three hours, and then he'd slide into this 
room looking as if he'd jest come out of his corfin. It 
give me such a shock when I first saw the picture that I 
threw my apern over my head. 

" * Ah,' said Devlin with a grin, pulling my apern 
away, * I thought you'd be overcome when you set eyes on 
it. It's a rare piece of work, ain't it ? Why, it almost 
speaks !' 

**It was as like Lemon as like could be — I couldn't 
deny that ; but there was the sly, wicked look which you've 
noticed in that there stulBfed bird and in the stone image on 
the mantelshelf. Devlin made us a present of them things 
after he'd painted the portraits, and told me to treasure 'em 
for his sake, and that whenever I looked at 'em I was to 
think of him. He said they was worth ever so much 
money, but that I was never, never to part with 'em. 



} 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 71 

'* ' If you do,* he said, laughing in my face, 'I'll haunt 
you day and night.' 

'* So things went on, gitting worser and worser every 
day, and Lemon got that thin that you could almost blow 
him away. And now, sir, I'm coming to the most dreadful 
part of the whole affair, something that has frightened me 
more than all the rest put together. What I'm going to 
speak of now is that awful murder in Victoria Park. Don't 
think I'm making it up out of my head. I ain't clever 
enough or wicked enough. If I was I should deserve a 
judgment to fall on me. 

** I've told you of Lemon speaking in his sleep — never 
did he go to bed without saying things in the night that'd 
send my heart into my mouth. He seemed as if he was 
haunted by shadders and spirits, and as if there was always 
something weighing on his soul that he daren't let out 
when he was awake. When I found it was no good argu- 
ing with him I give it up, and I bore with his writhes and 
groans, without telling him in the morning of the dreadful 
night I'd passed. But the day before yesterday, sir, things 
come to a head. 

"He went out early with Devlin as usual, and they 
both come home together a deal later than they was in the 
habit of doing. I fixed the time in my dairy, sir ; it was 
half-past eight o'clock. Before that I'd wrote my letter to you 
and posted it — the letter you got yesterday morning. Little 
did I dream of what was going to happen after I sent it off. 

**I noticed that Lemon was more trembly than ever, 
and there was that in his eyes which made my heart bleed 
for him. It wasn't a wandering look, because he was afraid 
to look behind him ; it was as if he was trying to shut out 
something horrible. But I didn't say a word to him while 
Devlin was with us. He didn't remain long. 

** * I'm going to my room,' he said ; * I've got a lot of 
writing to do. Bring me up a pot of tea before you go to 
bed. Lemon and me's been spending a pleasant hour at 
the Twisted Cow.' 



72 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



** * Lemon looks as if he'd been spending a pleasant 
hour/ I thought, as I looked at his white face. 

** Then Devlin went to his room cp the second floor, 
and I breathed more free. 

** The Twisted Cow, sir, is a public which Devlin is 
fond of. You may be sure he'd pick out a house with a 
outlandish name. 

** * 0, Lemon, Lemon,' I said, * you look like a ghost!' 

*' * Hush !' he said, with his hand to his ear ; he was 
afraid Devlin might be listening. * Don't speak to me, 
Fanny ; I want to be quiet, very quiet. How horrible, 
how horrible !' 

*' * What's horrible. Lemon ?' I asked, putting my arms 
round his neck. 

*' He pushed me away and asked what I meant. 

*** You said " How horrible, how horrible !" jest now, 
Lemon.* 

*' To my surprise, he answered *I didn't. You must 
have fancied it. Let me be quiet. * 

**I didn't dispute with him, and we set here in the 
parlour for more than an hour without saying a word to 
each other. Lemon hadn't been drinking, sir ; he was as 
sober as I am this minute. 

'* * I think I'll go to bed, Fanny,' he said. 

** The tears come into my eyes, he spoke so soft. 

** * Shall I go and git your supper-beer, Lemon ?' I 
asked. 

** * No,' he said, ketching hold of me. * I won't be 
left alone in the house with that — that devil up-stairs ! I 
don't want no supper- beer.' 

*' It was the first time he'd ever spoke of Devlin in 
that way, and I knew that something out of the common 
must have happened. Perhaps they'd quarrelled. 0, how 
I hoped they had ! It might put a end to their partner- 
ship, and there would be a chance of peace and happiness 
once more. 

** ' I won't leave you. Lemon,' I said. * I'll take that 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 73 

wretch his tea, and I hope it'll choke him, and then 1*11 
come to bed too. Shall I make you some gruel, Lemon, 
or anything else you fancy ?* 

** * No,' he answered. * I don't want nothing — only 
to sleep, to sleep !' 

" I made the tea for Devlin, and it's a mercy I didn't 
have any poison in the house, because I might have been 
tempted to put it in the pot — though perhaps that wouldn't 
have hurt him. I knocked at his door, and he said as plea- 
sant as pleasant can be, * Come in, Mrs. Lemon. What a 
treasure you are ! How happy Lemon ought to be with 
sech a wife !* 

*' But I didn't stop to talk to him. I put the tea on 
the table and went down to Lemon. He was already in 
bed, and his head was covered with the bedclothes. 

** 'I'll jest run down,' I whispered, 'and put up the 
chain on the street-door. I won't be a minute. Lemon.' 

"I was back in less than that, and I went to bed. 
Lemon never moved. I spoke to him, but he didn't 
answer me ; and after a little while I went to sleep. 

*' I woke up as the clock struck twelve all in a pres- 
piration. Lemon was talking in his sleep, and this is 
what he said : 

** ' Victoria Park. Eighteen years old. Golden hair. 
With a bunch of daisies in her belt. A bunch of white 
daisies, with blood on 'em ! With blood on *em ! With 
blood on 'em! Lord, have mercy on her! Near the 
water. Lord, have mercy on her ! Lord, have mercy on her 1' 

"And then, sir, he give a scream that curdled right 
through me, and cried, * Don't let him — don't let him ! 
Save her — save her !' 

" How would 2/otA feel, sir, if you heard some one lay- 
iiig by your side saying sech things in the dead of night ? 



74 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

IN WHICH FANNY NARRATES HOW HER HUSBAND HAD A FIT, 
AND WHAT THE DOCTOR THOUGHT OF IT. 

** Nothing more took place before we got up in the 
morning. Lemon torsed about as usual, and kept groan- 
ing and talking to hisself, but, excep what I've told you, 
I couldn't make head or tail of his mumblings. Devlin 
come down to breakfast, and said, as gay as gay can be, 

** * I've had a lovely night.' 

" * Have you ?' said I. I wouldn't have spoke if I 
could have helped it, but he's got a way of forcing the 
words out of you. 

" * Yes,' he answered, ' a most lovely night. I've 
slep the sleep of the just.' What he meant by it I don't 
know, but it's what he said. 'You look tired, Mrs. 
Lemon.* 

'*He grinned in my face, sir, as he made the remark, 
and my blood begun to boil. 

***rve got enough to make me look tired,' I said. 
' Lemon hasn't had a decent night's rest for months.* 

** * You don't say so ! But why not, why not ?' asked 
Devlin, pitching into the ham and eggs. 

** * You can answer that better than I can,* I said, 
jumping from the table ; * You ; yes, you !' 

** * Fanny !* cried Lemon. 

*" I don't care,' I said, feeling reckless ; I think it 
must have been because I was sure you'd come to my help, 
sir. * I don't care. Things aren't as they should be, and 
it stands to reason they can't go on like this much longer.' 

" * 0,* said Devlin, helping hisself to the last rasher. 
' It stands to reason, does it ?' 

*' * Yes, it does,' I answered. * I'm Lemon's wife, and 
if he can't take care of hisself it's my duty to do it for him.' 

*' 'Can't you take care of yourself?' asked Devlin of 
my poor husband. * That's sad, very sad I' 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 75 

** * I can, I can,' cried Lemon. * Fanny don't know 
•what she's talking about.' 

" * I thought as much,* said Devlin. * Nerves un- 
strung. She wants bracing up. I must prescribe for 
her.' 

" 'Not if I know it,' I said. 'I've had enough of 
you and your prescribing to last me a lifetime. Don't 
look at me like that, or you'll drive me mad !' 

" ' Was there ever sech an unreasonable woman ?' said 
Devlin, and he come and laid his hand upon me. * Jest see 
how she's shaking. Lemon. She's low, very low ; I really 
must prescribe for her. Leave her to me. I'll see that 
no harm comes to her.* 

'* What with his great staring eyes piercing me 
through and through, and his hand patting my shoulder, 
and his mocking voice, and the grin on his face, all my 
courage melted clean away, and I burst out crying and run 
into the kitchen. There I stayed till I heard the street- 
door slam, and then I went back to clear the breakfast- 
things, with a thankful heart that Devlin was gone. If 
he'd only have left my husband behind him I should havo 
been satisfied, but Lemon was gone too. There was a 
bottle on the table with something in it, and a label on it 
in Devlin's writing — 

"For my dear kind friend, Mrs. Lemon. A tonic for 
her nerves. A tablespoonful, in water, three times a day.* 

** * A tablespoonful, in water, three times a day,' thinks 
I to myself. * Not if I know it.* 

" I was going to throw the bottle in the dusthole, but 
I thought I'd better not, and I put it away on the top 
shelf of the cupboard, right at the back. After that I 
went about my work, wondering how it was all going to 
end, and casting about in my mind whether there was any- 
thing I could do to get rid of the creature as was making 
our lives a misery. But I couldn't think of nothing. 

** Lemon was never very fond of politics, but he likes 
to know what's going on, and we take in a penny weekly 



76 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

newspaper as gives all the news from one end of the week 
to the other, and how they do it for the money heats me 
holler. The boy brings it every Sunday morning, and it 
ain't once in a year that Lemon buys a daily paper. You'll 
see presently why I mention it. 

" It was five o'clock in the afternoon, and I was setting 
sewing when I hears the latchkey in the street-door. Now, 
Saturday is always a late day with Lemon and Devlin ; 
they don't generally come home till ten or eleven o'clock 
at night, and I was surprised when I heard the key in the 
lock. I knew it must be one or the other of 'em, because 
nobody but them and me has a latchkey. I set and listened, 
wondering whether it was Lemon and what had brought 
him home so early, and I made up my mind, if it was 
him, to have a good talk with him, and try and per- 
suade him once more to give up Devlin altogether. * But 
why don't he come in ?' thought I. There he was in the 
street, fumbling about with the key as though there was 
something wrong with it ; and he stayed there so long that 
I couldn't stand it no longer, so I goes to the door and 
opens it myself. The minute it was open Lemon reels 
past me, behaving hisself as if he was mad or drunk. I 
picked up the latchkey which he'd dropped, and follered 
him into the parlour here. What made him ketch hold of 
me, and moan, and cry, and look round as if he'd brought 
a ghost in with him, and it was standing at his elber ? 
And what made him suddingly cover his face with his 
hands, and after trembling like a aspen leaf, tumble down 
on the floor in a fit right before my very eyes ? There he 
laid, sir, twisting and foaming, a sight I pray I may never 
see agin. 

"I knelt down quick and undid his neck-handkercher, 
and tried to bring him to, but he got worse and worse, and 
all I could do wasn't a bit of good. 

** There was nobody in the house but Lemon and me, 
and, almost distracted, I run like mad to the chemist's 
shop at the corner of the second turning to the right, who's 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 77 

got a son walking the horspitals, and begged him to come 
with me and see my poor man. He come at once, sir, 
and there was Lemon still on the floor in his fit. The 
doctor unclarsped Lemon's hands and put something in 
'em, and I slipped a cold key down his back because his 
nose was bleeding 

" * That's a good sign,* said the doctor, as he forced 
Lemon's jaws apart and put a spoon between his teeth, 
which Lemon almost bit in two. Then he threw a jug of 
cold water into Lemon's face, completely satcherating him, 
and after that Lemon wasn't so violent; but he didn't 
recover his senses or open his eyes. 

'* * Let's git him to bed,' said the doctor. 

** He helped me carry Lemon up-stairs, where we 
undressed him, and it wasn't before we got him between 
the sheets that he come to. 

** ' Feel better ?' asked the doctor. 

" But Lemon never spoke. 

*' * Don't leave him,' said the doctor to me, and he 
went back to his shop and brought a sleeping draught, 
which Lemon took, and soon afterwards fell asleep. 

" * He won't wake,' said the doctor, * for twelve hours 
at least. Is he subject to fits ?' 

** * No, sir,' I answered ; * this is the first he's ever 
had. Can you tell me what's the matter with him ? He 
ain't been drinking, has he ?' 

'* There's no sign of drink,' said the doctor, * and no 
smell of it. Does he drink ?' 

***Not more than is good for him,' I said. 'I've 
never seen Lemon the worse for liquor.' 

*' * What I don't like about him,* the doctor then said, 
' was the look in his eyes when he come to his senses — as 
if he'd had a shock. Has he taken a religious turn ?' 

*' ' No, sir.' 

** * Is he sooperstitious at all ?* 

" ' No, sir.' 

** ' The reason I ask, Mrs. Lemon,' said the doctor, 



78 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

* is because this don't seem to me a ordinary fit. Is there 
any madness in your husband's family ?' 

" * I never heard of any,' I answered, ' and I think I 
should have been sure to know it if there was.* 

*** Very likely,' said the doctor, 'though sometimes 
they keep it dark. All I can say is, there's something on 
Mr. Lemon's mind, or he's received a mental shock.' 

'* With that he went away. 

** Lemon by that time was sound as a top. The 
doctor must have given him a strong dose to overcome him 
so, and it did my heart good to see him laying so peaceful. 
But I couldn't help thinking over what the doctor had said 
of him. There was either something on Lemon's mind or 
he'd received a mental shock. And that was said without 
the doctor knowing what I knew, for I'd kep my troubles 
to myself. I didn't as much as whisper what Lemon had 
said in his sleep the night before about the young girl in 
Victoria Park with golden hair and a bunch of white daisies 
in her belt, covered with blood. 

" * Perhaps Lemon's been reading a story,* I thought, 

* with something like that in it, and it's took hold of him.' 

" There was nothing to wonder at in that. The penny 
newspaper we take in always has a story in it that goes on 
from week to week, and always ending at such a aggra- 
vating part that I can hardly wait to git the next number. 
I fly for it the first thing Sunday morning, before I read 
anything else. Lemon goes for the police-courts, and takes 
the story afterwards. 

" My mind was running on in that way as I picked up 
Lemon's clothes, which the doctor and me had tore off him 
and throwed on the floor; and I don't mind telling you, 
sir, that I felt in the pockets. First, his trousers. There 
was nothing in 'em but a few coppers and two-and-six in 
silver. Then his westcoat. There was nothing in that 
but his silver watch and a button that had come ofi". Then 
his coat. What I found there was his handkercher, his 
spectacles, and a evening newspaper, I folded his clothes 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 79 

tidy, and come down-stairs with the paper in my hand. 
There must be something particular in it, thinks I, as I set 
down in the parlour here, and opened it in the middle, and 
smoothed it out. There was, sir. 

** The very first words I saw, in big letters, at the top 
of the column was — * Dreadful and Mysterious Discovery 
in Victoria Park. Ruthless Murder of a Young Girl. 
Stabbed to the Heart ! A Bunch of Blood-stained Daisies !* 

** Can you imagine my feelings, sir ? 

**I could scarce believe my eyes. But there it was, 
staring me in the face, like a great bill on the walls printed 
in red. The ink was black, of course, but as I looked at 
the awful words they grew larger and larger, and their 
colour seemed to change to the colour of blood. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

DEVLIN APPEARS SUDDENLY, AND HOLDS A CONVERSATION 
WITH FANNY ABOUT THE MURDER. 

** Now, sir, while I was looking in a state of daze at the 
paper, and trying to pluck up courage to read it, I felt a 
chill down the small of my back, and I knew that our lodger 
Devlin had crep into the room unbeknown, without me 
hearing of him. 

** * What is this I*ve been told as I come along?' he 
said. * My friend Lemon, your worthy husband, taken ill ? 
It is sad news. Is he very ill ? Let me see him.* 

** What did I do, sir, but run out of the room, and 
up- stairs where Lemon was sleeping, and whip out the key 
from the inside of the door and put it in the outside, and 
turn the lock. Then I felt I could breathe, and I went 
down-stairs to Devlin. 

« < Why do you lock the poor man in ?* he asked. 

" * How do you know ?* I said, * that I have locked him 
in, unless you've been spying me ?* 

** * How do I know what I know ?* he said, laughing. 



So DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

* Ah, if I egsplained you might not understand. Perhaps 
there's little I don't know. I've travelled the world over, 
Mrs. Lemon, and there's no saying what I've learnt. As 
for spying, fye, fye, my dear landlady ! But you must be 
satisfied, I suppose, being a woman. Have you ever heard 
of second sight ? It's a wonderful gift. Perhaps I've got 
it; perhaps I can see with my eyes shut. Sech things 
are. But this is trifling. Poor Lemon ! I am really con- 
cerned for him. You musn't keep me away from him. 
I'm a doctor, and can do him a power of good.' 

** ' Not,* I said, and where I got the courage from in 
the state I was in, goodness only knows, 'while there's 
breath in my body shall you doctor my husband. Mischief 
enough you've done ; you don't do no more.' 

** * Mischief, you foolish woman 1' he said. * What mis- 
chief ? Have you took leave of your senses ?' But I didn't 
answer him. * Ah, well,' he said, shrugging his shoulders, 

* let it be as you wish with my poor friend Lemon. I yield 
always to a lady. What is this ?' And he took up the 
newspaper. * You've been reading, I see, the particulars 
of this sad case. It is more than sad ; it is frightful.' 

• '* ' I haven't read it,' I said. 

** * But you was going to ?' 

" ' I won't bemean myself by denying it,* I said. ' Yes, 
I was going to, when you come into the room unbeknown 
and unbeware.' 

** I had it in my mind to say that it was a liberty to 
come into a room as didn't belong to him without first 
knocking at the door, but his black eyes was fixed on me 
and his moustache was curling up to his nose, and I didn't 
dare to. 

** * When I come into the room,' he said, ' unbeknown 
and unbeware, as you egspress it, you had no ears for any- 
thing. You was staring at the paper, and your eyes was 
wild. What for ? Is it a murder that frightens you ? 
Foolish, stupid, because murders are so common. How 
many people go to bed at night and never rise from it agin, 



DEVLIN THE MRBER, 8i 

because of what happens while they sleep ! This murder 
is strange in a sort of way, but not clever — no, not clever. 
A young girl, eighteen years of age, beautiful, very beauti- 
ful, with hair of gold and eyes of blue, receives a letter. 
From her lover ? Who shall say ? That is yet to bo 
discovered in the future. ** Meet me," the letter says, 
'*in Victoria Park, at the old spot" — which proves, my 
dear landlady, that they have met before in the same 
place — *' at eleven o'clock to-night." An imprudent hour 
for a girl so young ; but, then, what will not love dare ? 
When you and Lemon was a-courting didn't you meet him 
whenever he asked you at all sorts of out-of-the-way places ? 
It is what lovers do, without asking why. "And wear," 
the letter goes on, ** in your belt a bunch of white daisies, 
so that I may know it is you." Now, why that ? It is 
the request of a bungler. If the letter was wrote by her 
lover — and there is at present no reason to suppose other- 
wise — he would recognise his sweetheart without a bunch 
of white daisies in her belt. What, then, is the egsplana- 
tion ? That, also, is in the future to be discovered. Let 
us imagine something. Say that between the young giii 
with the hair of gold and the eyes of blue and the man 
that writes the letter there is a secret, the discovery of 
which will be bad for him. Pardon, you wish to ask some- 
thing ?' 

** ' Yes,' I said, ' about the letter. How do you know 
it was wrote ?' 

*' *Did I say I know?' he answered, with his slyest, 
wickedest look. * Ain't we imagining, simply imagining? 
Being in the dark, we must find some point to commence 
at, and nothing can be more natural than a letter.* 

** * Was it found in the young lady's pocket ?' I asked. 

" ' Nothing was found,' he answered, * in the young 
lady's pocket.' 

" * Then it ain't possible,' I said, * that the letter could 
have been wrote.* 

" * Sweet innocence I' said Devlin, and with all theso 



82 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

dreadful goings on, sir, that was making me tremble in 
my shoes, he had the impidence to chuck me under the 
chin — and Lemon up-stairs in the state he was ! * What 
could be easier than to empty a young lady*s pockets when 
she's laying dead before you. A job any fool could do. 
But the letter may be found.' 

** * And the murderer, too,' I said, with a shudder, 
* and hanged, I hope !' 

** * I share your hope,' he said, with one of his strange 
laughs, ' by the neck tiU he is dead. The more the merrier. 
To continue our imaginings. Between the young lady and 
her lover, as I said, there's a secret as would be bad for 
him if it was made pubHo — as might, indeed, be the ruin 
of him. This secret may be revealed in the correspondence 
as passed between them. The chances are that those let- 
ters are not destroyed. Men are so indiscreet ! Why, they 
often forgit there's a to-morrer. The young lady is de- 
scribed as being beautiful. More's the pity. Beauty's a 
snare. If ever I marry — which ain't likely, Mrs. Lemon — 
I'U marry a fright. Beautiful as the young lady is, her 
lover wishes to git rid of her. Perhaps he's tired of her ; 
perhaps he's got another fancy; perhaps he's seen her 
twin sister, and is smit with her. There's any number of 
perhapses to fit the case. But the poor girl, having been 
brought to shame ' 

** ' Is that in the paper ?' I asked, interrupting him. 

" ' No,' he answered, ' but it may be. It is always so 
with those girls ; there's hardly a pin to choose between 
'em. Naturally, she won't consent to let him get rid of 
her — won't consent to release him — won't consent to let 
him go free. They quarrel, and make it up. They quarrel 
agin, and make it up agin. Days, weeks go by, till yester- 
day comes, and she is to meet him at night. She's got a 
mother, she's got a father ; they set together, and she goes 
to bed early. She's got a headache, she says, and so, 
** Good-night, mother; good-night, father;" a kiss for 
each of 'em ; and there's a end of kisses and good-nights. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 83 

The last page of her little book of life is reached. There's 
a lot in that scene to make a body think — it's full of pic- 
tures of the past. Think of all the days of childhood 
wasted ; think of all the love, laughter, hopes, joys — wasted ; 
flowers, ribbons, fancies, dreams — wasted ; all that good men 
say is sweetest in life, and that's played its part for so 
many, many years — all wasted. Better to have been 
wicked at once, better to have been sinful and deceitful all 
through — think you not so ? " Good-night, mother ; good- 
night, father," and so — to bed ? No. To go up to her 
little room and lock the door, to dress herself in her best 
clothes, to make herself still more beautiful — for that, you 
see, may melt her lover's heart — to put the bunch of white 
daisies in her belt, to wait till the house is quiet — so quiet, 
so quiet ! — and then to steal out softly, softly ! She stops 
at mother's door and listens. Not a sound. Mother and 
father sleep in peace. Remembrances of the past come to 
her in the dark, and she cries a little, very quietly. Then 
she departs. It is done. From that home she is gone for 
ever, and she is walking to her grave ! The park is still and 
quiet at that hour of the night ; excep for a few hungry 
wretches who prowl or sleep, the girl and the man have it 
all to themselves. First — love passages. Twelve o'clock. 
They stop and listen to the tolling of the bell — they all do 
that. Some smile and sing at the chimes, some shiver 
and groan. Next — arguments, entreaties to be released. 
He will be so good to her, 0, so good, if she will only 
release him ! One o'clock. Next — more love-making and 
tjoaxing, then threats, passionate reproaches, defiance. Ah, 
it has come to that — the end is near ! Two o'clock. He 
stabs her, quick and sudden, to the heart ? Hark ! do you 
hear the wild scream ? Her body is dead, and her soul — ? 
But that and other mysteries remain to be unravelled — 
which may be — Never !' 



84 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

CHAPTER XV. 

FANNY DESCRIBES HOW SHE MADE UP HER MIND WHAT TO DO 
WITH LEMON. 

*' Devlin put down the newspaper, and waited for me 
to speak. I think, sir, I've told you egsactly what he said, 
and as fur as possible in his own words. They are so 
printed on my mind that I couldn't forgit 'em if I tried ever 
so hard. As he described what had took place it was as if 
he was painting pictures, and he made me see 'em. I saw 
the poor girl's home ; I saw her setting with her father and 
mother in jest sech a little room as this — for they are only 
humble people, sir ; I saw her kiss 'em good-night ; I saw 
her in her bedroom a-doing herself up before the looking- 
glass ; I saw her put the bunch of white daisies in her 
belt ; I saw her steal out of the house to the park ; I saw 
the man and her walking about among the trees, and some- 
times setting down to talk ; I heard a scream — another ! — 
another ! — and I covered my eyes with my hands to shut 
it all out. I was so overcome that I hadn't strength to 
wrench myself away from Devlin, who was smoothing my 
hair with his hands. But presently I managed to scream : 

** 'Don't touch me! Don't touch 'me, you — you * 

*' * You what ?' asked Devlin in his false voice, moving 
a little away from my chair. 

** My scream, and him speaking agin, brought me to 
myself. 

*** Never mind, never mind,' I said. *If you know 
what I'm thinking about, it's no use my telling you.' 

***I do know,* he said. * Why, it's wrote on your 
face. And I know, too, that you want to ask me some 
questions. Fire away.' 

** *Mr. Devlin, I said, upon that, 'you slep at home 
last night, didn't you ?* 

** * Certainly, I did,* he answered. * Don't you remem» 
her Lemon and me coming in together ?' 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 85 

*' * Yes,' I said, * I remember.* 

** * Don't you remember,* he said, * that you brought 
me up a cup of tea before you went to bed, and that I told 
you I had a lot of writing to do, and that I said what a 
treasure you was, and how happy Lemon ought to be with 
sech a wife ?* 

*' * Yes,* I said, *I remembet.* I couldn't say no- 
thing else, it was the truth. 

** * Inspired by the egsellent tea you make,* he went 
on, * I stopped up late and did my writing. If I mistake 
not, you put the chain on the street-door before you went 
to bed.* 

'' ' Yes, I did.* 

" ' And when you went down this morning the chain 
was still up ?* 

** * Yes, it was.* 

** * And I breakfasted with you and Lemon ?* 

*' * Yes, you did.* 

** * And I presume you made my bed some time during 
the day ?' 

'* * Of course I did.* 

*' ' Did it look as if it had been slep in ?* 

*''Yes.* 

** * So that you see, my dear landlady,* he said, grin- 
ning at me, * that it wasn't possible for me to have mur- 
dered the girl.* 

" * Who said you did it ?* I asked, starting back, for 
he had come close to me, and I thought he was going to 
touch me ag'in. 

" * You didn't say so,* he said, ' but you thought so. 
It was wrote in your face, as I told you a minute ago. 
It is women Hke you who would put a man's life in danger, 
and think no more of it than snuffing a candle.* 

**He didn't remain with me much longer, but went up 
to his room. He was right in what he said he saw wrote 
in my face while he was smoothing my hair ; an idea had 
entered my head that it was him who had killed the poor 



S6 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

girl. I think him bad enough for anything; there's 
nothing wicked I wouldn't believe of him. But of course 
it wasn't possible for him to have done it ; and I thought 
with thankfulness it wasn't possible for Lemon to have 
<ione it, for he never stirred out of the house that night. 
It was what Lemon said in his sleep that made me tremble 
and shiver. Why, sir, he spoke of the murder before it 
was done ! It says in the papers that when the poor girl 
was found she had been dead hours, and the doctor fixes 
it that she must have been murdered between two and 
three o'clock in the morning. And two hours and a half 
before she was murdered Lemon was raving in his sleep 
and telling all about it ! How did he know, sir ? how did 
he know ? 

** If it had been a ordinary case — if Lemon had only 
spoke in his sleep about some murder or other, and I'd 
read the next day that a murder had been committed that 
night, it would have been strange, but nothing so very 
much out of the way. Our minds sometimes runs on 
dreadful things, enough to give one the creeps, and we 
ain't accountable for everything we say when we're asleep. 
But Lemon said Victoria Park, and it was done in Victoria 
Park. He said eighteen years, and that was jest her age. 
He said golden hair, and she had golden hair. He said 
a bunch of white daisies, and she wore a bunch of white 
daisies. He said blood on 'em, and there was blood on 
'em. He said stabbed to the heart, and she was stabbed 
to the heart ! 

" I'll tell you, sir, what come to me, and made me feel 
almost like a murderess. It was that if I'd really known 
what was going to happen when I heard Lemon talking in 
his sleep, I might have saved the life of that poor girl. 
But how was it possible for me to know ? Still, that didn't 
prevent me feeling like a guilty woman. 

'* But how much did Lemon know ? * Did the wretch 
who killed the girl tell him beforehand what he was going 
to do, and was Lemon wicked enough to keep it to hisself ? 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 87 

Was the murderer an acquaintance of Lemon's ? If he was, 
I made up my mind that a hour shouldn't pass after 
Lemon was awake this morning before I put the police on 
the wretch's track. Lemon would know his name, and 
where he lived, perhaps. Whatever was the consequences, 
I'd do what I could to bring the monster into the dock. 

** I was more than sorry that the doctor had give 
Lemon sech a strong sleeping draught, and I prayed that 
he would wake up sooner than I expected. I went to the 
bedroom, but there was Lemon fast asleep, with a face as 
innocent as a babe unborn. He wasn't dreaming, he 
wasn't talking ; his mind was at rest as well as his body. 
You know more than I do, sir. Could anybody with some- 
thing dreadful on his mind have slop' like that ? But my 
mind was made up. The very minute Lemon was sensible, 
and knew what he was about, to the police-station he should 
go with me, and make a clean breast of it. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

MB. LEMON WAKES UP. 

** I WAS that impatient that I hardly knew what to do. 
Minutes was like dymens, and there Lemon lay like a log. 
Couldn't I bring him to his senses somehow or other ? I 
tried. I walked about heavy. I threw down things. I 
even turned Lemon over, but it had no more efifect on him 
than water on a duck's back. He never give so much as a 
murmur, and I don't think a earthquake would have roused 
him. I had to give it up as a bad job, but I felt that it 
would be a mockery for me to go to bed, because in the state 
I was in it wasn't likely I could git a wink of sleep. Then 
I knew, too, that there wouldn't be a minute to lose when 
Lemon opened his eyes, and that it was my duty to git 



88 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

everything ready. So I spread out Leraon's clothes in 
regular order, not forgetting his clean Sunday shirt, and I 
put on my bonnet and cloak, and set down and waited all 
through that blessed night, looking at Lemon. I didn't 
hear a sound in the room up-stairs, so I supposed that 
Devlin was asleep, and I thought how dreadful it was to 
have a man like that in the house, a man as spoke of 
murder as though he enjoyed it. The only sound that 
come to my ears two or three times in the night was the 
policeman on his beat outside as he passed through the 
square, and you may guess, sir, I didn't get any comfort 
out of that. I had my fancies, but I shook 'em off, though 
they made me shake and shiver. One of 'em was that all 
of a sudden, jest as the policeman had passed by, there 
rung through the square shrieks of ' Murder ! murder !* 
and millions of people seemed to be battering at the street- 
door and crying that they'd tear Lemon and me to pieces. 
It didn't seem as if they wanted to hurt Devlin, for there 
he was, standing and grinning at us and the people, with 
that aggravating look on his face that makes me bum to 
fly at him, if I only had the courage. Of course it was 
all fancy, sir; but how would you like to pass sech a 
night ? 

** At nine o'clock this morning, and not a minute before, 
Lemon woke up. I had a cup of tea ready for him in the 
bedroom, and a slice of bread and butter. He's gone off 
his breakfast for a long time past, and one slice of bread 
and butter is as much as he can git down, if he can do 
that. Before I took Devlin as a lodger, Lemon used to 
eat a big breakfast, never less than a couple of rashers, and 
a couple of boiled eggs on the top of that, and four or five 
slices of bread and butter cut thick. It is a bad sign when 
a man begins to say he's got no appetite for breakfast. If 
his stomach ain't going all to pieces, it's something worse, 
perhaps. 

« < Why, Fanny,* said Lemon, seeing me with my 
bonnet on, * have you been out ? What's the time ?' 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 89 

'*He spoke quite calm and cheerful; the sleeping 
draught had done him good, and had made him forgit. 

** * The time's nine o'clock, Lemon,* I answered, * and 
I ain't been out.* 

" ' What's to-day ?* he asked. 

** * Sunday,* I answered. 

** * Sunday !* he exclaimed. * It's funny. Everything 
seems mixed. Sunday, is it ? But, I say, Fanny, if you 
ain't been out, what have you got your bonnet on for ?* 

" * I'm waiting for you,* I said. * Git up, quick, you 
must come with me at once.* 

** * Come with you at once,* he said, rubbing his eyes, 
to make sure whether he was awake or asleep ; and then 
he must have seen something in my face, for he looked at 
me strange, and left off rubbing his eyes, and began to rub 
his forehead. * I can't understand it. Has anything gone 
wrong ?' 

'* ' Lemon,' I said, speaking very solemn, and speaking 
as I felt, * you know too well what has gone wrong, and 
I only hope you may be forgiven.* 

"I shouldn't have stopped short in the middle if it 
hadn't been that we heard Devlin moving about in the 
room up-stairs. I looked up at the ceib'ng, and so did 
Lemon, and when I saw his face grow white I knew that 
mine was growing white as well ; and I knew, too, that 
Lemon was gitting his memory back. 

** ' Speak low, speak low,* he whispered. ' Devlin 
mustn't hear a word we say. You hope I may be forgiven ! 
For what ? What have I done ? 0, my head, my head ! 
It feels as if it was going to burst !* 

** His face begun to get flushed, and the veins swelled 
out. I thought to myself, I must be careful with Lemon ; 
I mustn't be too sudden with him, or he'll have another 
fit. I was going to speak soothing, when he clapped his 
blind on my mouth and almost stopped my breath. 

" * Don't say nothing yet,* he said. * You must tell 
me something first that I want to know. I feel so confused 



90 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

— SO confused I What's been the matter with me ? I 
don't remember going to bed last night.* 

** * You fell down in a fit, Lemon,* I said, ' and I had 
to get the doctor to you.* 

** * Yes, yes,' he said eagerly. * Go on — go on.* 

" * We carried you up-stairs here, the doctor and me, 
and undressed you and put you to bed ; and when you come 
out of your fit he give you a sleeping draught.' 

** *It's not that I want to know,' he said. * What 
made me go into a fit ? I never had a fit before, as I 
remember. Fanny, is it all a dream ?' 

** ' Lemon,' I answered, ' you must ask your conscience; 
I can't answer you. You come home with a evening paper 
in your pocket, a-moaning and crying, and you ketches hold 
of me, and looks round as if a ghost had follered you into 
the room, and then you falls down in your fit.* 

** * And him ?' he said, pointing to the ceiling. ' Him 
— Devlin ? Was he with me ? Did he see me whUe I 
was in the fit ?' 

** * No,' I answered. * He come home after we'd got 
you to bed, and said he wanted to see you ; but I wouldn't 
let him. I whipped up-stairs here, and turned the key, so 
as he shouldn't git at you.* 

" * You did right, you did right. Was he angry ?* 

*' 'If he was, he didn't show it. He kep with me a 
long time, talking about the — the * 

" * About the what ?* asked Lemon, the perspiration 
breaking out on him. 

*' ' About the murder ! Well may you shiver ! It was 
in the newspaper you brought home with you, and he read 
it out loud, and talked about it in a way as froze my 
blood.' 

** ' Blood !* groaned Lemon, * Blood ! Fanny, 
Fanny!' 

"He is my husband, sir, and he was suffering, and I 
ain't ashamed to say that I took him in my arms, and tried 
to comfort him. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 91 

" ' One word, Lemon,* I said, ' only one word before we 
go on. You ain't guilty, are you ?* 

'"Guilty?* he answered, but speaking quite soft; we 
neither of us raised our voices above a whisper * My God, 
no ! How could I be ? Wasn't I at home and abed when 
it was done ? 0, it's horrible ! horrible ! and I don't know 
what to think.' 

** * Thank God, you're innocent !* I said, and I was so 
grateful in my heart that my eyes brimmed over. ' And 
you didn't have nothing to do with the planning of it ? 
Tell me that.' 

** ' No, Fanny,* he said. * Him up-stairs there — did 
he sleep at home last night ?' 

*' 'Unless there's something going on too awful to think 
of,* I said, 'he did. I ain't been in bed, Lemon, since 
home you come yesterday and had your fit. And here in 
this room I've been setting with you from the time I put 
the chain on the street-door last night till now. I've only 
left you once — to take in the milk at seven o'clock this 
morning, and then the chain was on ; it hadn't been 
touched. No one went out of this house last night by the 
street-door.' 

" * They couldn't have gone out no other way,* said 
Lemon. 

" ' I don't see how they could,* I said, though I had 
my thoughts. 

" * And the night before, Fanny,* said Lemon, and 
now he looked at me as if life and death was in my answer, 
* the night it was done, did he sleep at home then ?* 

"'To the best of my belief he did,* I said. 'You 
may put me on the rack and tear me with red hot pinchers, 
and I can't say nothing but the truth. He did, sleep here 
the night that awful murder was done in Victoria Park. 
Drag me to the witness-box and put me in irons, and I 
can't say nothing else. I saw him go to his room after I'd 
put up the chain ; he called out ' Good night ;* and the 
next morning the chain was up jest as I left it. You can't 



92 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

put the chain on the street-door from the outside ; it must 
be done from the in. And now, Lemon, listen to me.* 

** * What do you want ?' he groaned. * 0, what do 
you want ? Ain't I bad enough akeady that you try to 
make me worse ?' 

*' * I must say. Lemon, what is on my mind.* 

'* * Won't it keep, Fanny ?' he asked. 

" * It won't keep,' I answered. * You know the man 
as committed the murder, and you'll come with me to the 
police-station, and put the police on his track.* 

** * Me know the wretch !' Lemon cried, his eyes almost 
starting out of his head. * Have you gone mad ?' 

** * No, Lemon,' I answered, * I'm in my sober senses. 
Whatever happens afterwards, we've got to face the con- 
sequences, or we shall wake up in the middle of the night 
and see that poor girl standing at our bedside pointing her 
finger at us. It's no use trying to disguise it. I know 
you know the wretch, and deny it you shan't.' 

** * 0,* he said, speaking very slow, as if he was 
choosing words, * you know I know him !' 

** *I do,' I answered. 

'* * Perhaps,' he said, with something like a click in 
his throat, * you will tell me how that's possible, when 
it's gospel truth I've never set eyes on him all my born days.* 

** * Lemon,' I said, *be careful, 0, be careful, how you 
speak of gospel truth ! Remember Ananias ! You may 
beat about the bush as much as you like, but I'm deter- 
mined to do what I've made up my mind to, and nothing 
shall drive me from it.' 

** ' Of course,' he said, upon that, and speaking flippant, 
* if you've made up your mind to the egstent you speak of, 
I'd best shut my mouth. I'll keep it shut till you tell me 
how you know what you say you know.' 

"'Lemon,' I said, 'light you speak, but sech you 
don't feel. You can't deceive me. When we was first 
married, you slep the sleep of innocence, and your breathing 
was that regular as showed you had nothing on your mind 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 93 

to take egsception to. But since that Devlin come into the 
house, the way you've gone on of a night is simply awful. 
Jumping about in bed as you've been doing night after 
night, and screaming and talking in your sleep ' 

** * Talking in my sleep !' he cried, and I saw that I'd 
scared him. * You shouldn't have let me I CaU yourself 
a wife ? You should have stopped me !' 

" * I couldn't help letting you, and I couldn't have 
stopped you, Lemon, and I'm not sure whether it would 
have been right to do it if sech was in my power.' 

*' * What have I said, what have I said ?' he asked. 

** 'The night before last as ever was,' I said, *when 
that dreadful deed was done as was printed in the paper 
you brought home yesterday, you said, while you was 
laying asleep on the very bed you're laying on now, words 
as chilled my blood, and it's a mercy I'm alive to tell it. 
You spoke of Victoria Park ; you spoke of a beautiful 
young girl with hair the colour of gold ; you spoke — 0, 
Lemon, Lemon ! — you spoke of her being stabbed to the 
heart ; you spoke of a bunch of white daisies as she wore 
in her belt, and you said there was blood on 'em ' 

" I had to stop myself, sir ; for Lemon had hid his 
face in the bedclothes, and was shaking like a man with 
Sam Witus's dance in his marrer. I let him lay till he got 
over it a bit, and then he uncovered his face ; it was as 
white as a sheet. 

** * Fanny,* he said — and he was hardly able to get his 
words out — * there's the Bible on the mantelshelf, there. 
Bring it to me.* 



CHAPTER XVII. 

LEMON*S VISION IN THE TWISTED COW. 

** I FETCHED the Bible, sir, and ho took it in his hand, 
and swore a most solemn oath, and kissed the book on it, 
that he didn't know the man, that he didn't know the girl, 



94 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

and that lie had no more to do with the murder than a 
babe unborn. Never in my life did I see a man in sech a 
state as he was. 

" * But, Lemon,* I said, * how could you come to speak 
sech words ? How could you come to know all about the 
murder hours and hours before it was done ?* 

** * I'll tell you, Fanny,' he said, ' as fur as I know ; 
and if you was to cut me in a thousand pieces I couldn't 
tell you more.* 

'* * It ain't to be egspected,* I said. 

*' * If there's men in the world,' Lemon went on, ' as 
can look into the future, Devlin's one of 'em. If there's 
men in the world as can teJl you what's going to happen — 
without having anything to do with it theirselves, mind 
— Devlin's one of 'em. The things he's told me of people 
is unbelievable, but as true as true can be. ** Did you take 
particular notice of the gentleman whose hair I've been jest 
cutting?" he said to me. " No," says I ; ** why should 
I?" *' He's the great Mr. Danebury that all the world's 
talking of," says he. "Is he ?" says I. '* I wonder what 
brings him to our shop ? What a charitable man he is ! 
"What a good, good man he is !" ** Good ain't the word 
for him," says Devlin. **He comes to our shop because 
it's out of the way. All the while I was operating on him 
he was thinking of a little milliner's girl as he's got an 
appointment with to-night. * Pritty little Phoebe !' he 
was saying to hisself as I was cutting his hair. * What eyes 
she's got ! Bloo and swimming ! What a skin's she's 
got ! like satting, it is so white and smooth I What lips 
she's got ! She's a bit of spring, jest budding. Pritty 
little Phcebe— pretty little Phoebe !" ' **But what was he 
saying that for ?" I asks. " He can't be in love with her. 
He's a family man, ain't he ?" ** I should think he was a 
family man," says Devlin. " He's got the most beautiful 
wife a man could wish for, and as good as she's beautiful ; 
and he's got half-a-dozen blooming children. But that 
don't prevent his being in love with pritty little Phcebe, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 95 

and he's got an appointment with her to-night ; and, what's 
more, he's going to keep it." I'm putting a true case to 
you, Fanny,' says Lemon, ' one of many sech. I fires up 
at what Devlin says about such a good man — that is, I 
used to fire up when things first commenced. I don't 
dispute with him now ; I know it's no use, and that he's 
always right, and me always wrong. But then I did, and 
I asks him how dare he talk like that of sech a man as 
Mr. Danebury, as gives money to charities, and talks 
about being everybody's friend. ** 0, you don't believe me I" 
Devlin says. ** Well, come with me to-night, and we'll 
jest see for ourselves." And I go with him, and I see a 
pritty little girl walking up and down the dark turning at 
the bottom of the Langham Hotel. Up and down she walks, 
up and down, up and down. ** That must be her," saya 
Devlin. We keep watching a little way off on the other 
side of the way, where it's darker still than where she's 
walking and waiting, and presently who should come up to 
her but the great Mr. Danebury ; and he takes her hand and 
holds it long, and they stand talking, and he says something 
to make her laugh, and then he tucks her arm in his, and 
walks off with her. ** What do you think of that ?" Devlin 
asks. **He's going to take her to a meeting of the mission- 
ary society." What I think of it makes me melancholy, 
and makes me ask myself, *' Can sech things be?" At 
another time Devlin says, ** I shouldn't wonder if you heard 
of a big fire to-morrer." ** Why do you say that ?" I asks. 
** The man who's jest gone out," Devlin answers, " was 
thinking of one while I was shampooing him — that's all." 
Anjd that wa% all ; but sure enough I do read of a big firo 
to-morrer in a great place of business that's heavily insured, 
and there's lives lost and dreadful scenes. And then some- 
times when Devlin and me is setting together, he gits up 
all of a sudden and stands over me, and what he does to me 
I couldn't tell you if you was to bum me alive ; but my 
senses seems to go, and I either gits fancies, or Devlin puts 
'em in my head ; but when I come to there's Devlin set- 



96 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

ting before me, and he says, *'I'll wager,'* says he, "that 
I'll tell you what you've been dreaming of." '* Have I 
been asleep ?" I asks. " Sound," he answers, " and talking 
in your sleep." And he tells me something dreadful that 
I've said about something that's going to happen ; and before 
the week's out it does happen, and I read of it in the papers. 
For a long time this has been going on till I've got in that 
state that I'd as soon die as live. If you don't understand 
what I'm trying to egsplain, Fanny,' said my poor Lemon, 
* it ain't my fault ; it's as dark to me as it is to you. Some- 
times I says to Devlin, '*I'll go and warn the police." 
** Do," says Devlin, " and be took up as a accomplice, and be 
follered about all your life like a thief or a murderer. Go 
and tell, and git yourself hanged or clapped in a madhouse." 
Of course, I see the sense of that, and I keep my mouth 
shut, but I get miserabler and miserabler. So the day 
before yesterday — that's Friday, Fanny — Devlin and me is 
sitting in the private room of the Twisted Cow, when he 
asks me whether I've ever been to Victoria Park, and I an- 
swers ** Lots of times." Now Fanny,' said Lemon, breaking 
off in his awful confession, ' if you ain't prepared to believe 
what's coming, I'll say no more. It'll sound unbelievable, 
but I can't help that. Things has happened without me 
having anything to do with 'em, and I'd need to be a sperrit 
instead of a man to account for 'em.' 

** ' Lemon,' I said, * I'm prepared to believe everything, 
only don't keep nothing from me.' 

'* * I won't,' said Lemon ; ' I'll tell you as near and 
as straight as I can what happened after Devlin asked me 
whether I'd ever been to Victoria Park. His eyes was 
fixed upon me that strange that I felt my senses sKpping 
away from me ; it wasn't that things went round so much 
as they seemed to fade away and become nothing at all. 
Was I setting in the private room of the Twisted Cow ? 
I don't know. Was it day or night ? I don't know. I 
wouldn't swear to it, though the moon was shining through 
the trees. The trees where? Why, in Victoria Park, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 97 

and no place else. And there was a man and a woman 
— a young beautiful woman, with golden hair, and a bunch 
of white daisies in her belt — talking together. How do 
I know that she's young and beautiful when I didn't see 
her face ? That's one of the things I'm unable to an- 
swer. And I don't see the man's face, either. Whether 
a minute passed or a hour, before I heard a shriek, I can't 
say, and perhaps it ain't material. And upon the shriek, 
there, near the water, laid the young girl, dead, with the 
bunch of white daisies in her belt, stained with blood. 
Then, everything disappeared, and, trembling and shaking 
to that degree that I felt as if I must fall to pieces, I 
looked up and round, and found myself in the private room 
of the Twisted Cow, with Devlin setting opposite me. 
** Dreaming agin. Lemon ?'* he says, with a grin. But I 
don't answer him ; my tongue sticks to the roof of my 
mouth. That's all I know, Fanny. Whether I saw 
what I've told you, or was told it, or only fancied it, is 
beyond me. What I've said is the truth, the whole truth, 
and nothing but the truth, so help me God !' 

" That's what I heard from Lemon's own lips this 
morning, sir, up- stairs, abed, where he is laying now, with 
the door locked on him. 

"I took oflf my hat and cloak, and Lemon burst out 
crying. 

** * You believe me, Fanny !* he^ cried. 

" * I believe every word you said,* I answered. 'It's 
no use going to the police-station this morning. A good 
friend of our'n is coming to see me to-day, and we'll wait 
and do what he advises us. Only you must promise to see 
him.* And I told him who you was, and why I wrote to 
you on Friday before poor Lizzie Melladew met her death. 

***I promise,* said Lemon, * and you've done right, 
Fanny.* 

** And now, sir, I've told you everything as I said I 
would, and you know as much as I do about this dreadful 
business.** 



98 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

fanny's story being concluded, I PAY A VISIT TO MR. 
LEMON, AND RESOLVE TO INTERVIEW DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

This was the story which Fanny related to me, and to 
which I listened in wonder and amazement. As she related 
it I wondered at times whether it was possible that what 
she said could be true, but I saw no reason to question her 
veracity; and there certainly could be no doubt of her 
sincerity. I had to some extent conquered the fascination 
which Lemon*s portrait on the wall, the stuffed bird in its 
glass case, and the evil-looking monster on the mantelshelf 
had exercised over me, but even now I could scarcely gaze 
upon them without a shudder. Fanny did not relate her 
story straight off, without a break, and I need hardly say 
that it was much longer than is here transcribed. But I 
have omitted no important point; everything pertinent 
to the tragedy of the murder of Mr. Melladew's daughter 
is faithfully set down. When she finished it was quite 
dark ; at my request she had not lighted lamp or candle. 

There were breaks, as I have said. Twice she left off, 
and went up- stairs to see Lemon, and give him something 
to eat and drink. 

** He knows you're here, sir," she said, when she re- 
turned on the first occasion. 

** Is he impatient to see me ?" I asked. 

"No, sir," she replied. *'A11 he seems to want is to 
be left alone." 

**But he will see me?" 

" 0, yes, sir ! He'll keep his promise." 

Once there was an interval of more than half-an-hour, 
during which I ate some cold meat and bread she brought 
me, and drank a pint bottle of stout. 

There was another occasion when she suddenly paused, 
with her finger at her lips. 

•'What are you stopping for, Fanny?" I askedi 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



99 



*' Speak low, sir,** she said. ** Devlin !'* 

"Where?'* I said, much startled. 

*' He has just opened the street-door, sir.** 

" I heard nothing, Fanny.'* 

" No, sir, you wouldn't. You don't know his ways as 
I do. Don't speak for a minute or two, sir." 

I waited, and strained my ears, but no footfall reached 
my ears. Presently Fanny said : 

** He's gone up to his room. He waited outside Lemon's 
door, and tried it, I think. Have you any notion what you 
are going to do about him, sir ?'* 

** My ideas are not yet formed, but I intend to see and 
speak with him.'* 

''You do, sir?'* 

** I do, Fanny, A special providence has directed my 
steps here to-day. I knew the poor girl who has been 
murdered.** 

''Sir!'* 

" Her family and mine have been friends for years. 
The interest I take in the discovery of the murderer is no 
common interest, and I intend to bring him to justice.** 

"How, sir?" exclaimed Fanny, greatly excited. 

" Through Mr. Devlin. The way will suggest itself. 
You have not heard him leave the house since he entered a 
little while since ?'* 

" No, sir. He is in his room now.** 

"If," I said, " when I am with your husband — and I 
intend to remain with him but a short time — Devlin comes 
down- stairs, let me know immediately. Keep watch for 
him.** 

" I will, sir. 0, how thankful I am that you're here — 
how thankful, how thankful !'* 

" I hope we shall all have reason to be thankful. And 
now, Fanny, I will go up to your husband.'* 

" I'll go in first, and prepare him, sir." 

" Let us have lights in the house. Don't leave Mr. 
Lemon in the dark. Put a candle in the passage also." 



100 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

She followed my instructions, and then we went to her 
husband's bedroom. I waited outside while she ''prepared " 
him. It did not take long to do so, and she came to the 
door and beckoned to me. I entered the room, and desired 
her to leave us alone. 

"But don't lock us in," I added. 

** No, sir," she said.- *' Lemon's safe now you're with 
him." 

With that she retired, first smoothing the bedclothes and 
the pillow with a kind of pitying, soothing motion as though 
Lemon was about to undergo an operation. 

I moved the candle so that its light fell upon Lemon's 
face. A scared, frightened face it was that turned to- 
wards me, the face of a man who had received a deadly 
shock. 

It is unnecessary to say more than a few words about 
what passed between Mr. Lemon and myself. My purpose 
was to obtain from him confirmation of the strange mysteri- 
ous story which Fanny had related. In this purpose I 
succeeded; it was correct in every particular. What I 
elicited from Lemon was elicited in the form of questions 
which I put to him and which he answered, sometimes 
readily, sometimes reluctantly. Had time not been so 
precious, my curiosity would have impelled me to go into 
matters respecting Devlin other than the murder of Lizzie 
Melladew, but I felt there was not a minute to waste ; and 
at the termination of my interview with Lemon I went into 
the passage, where I found Fanny waiting for me. Whisper- 
ing to her not to remain there, in order that Devlin might 
not be too strongly prejudiced against me — supposing him 
to be on the watch as well as ourselves — and receiving from 
her instructions as to the position of his room, I mounted 
the stairs with a firm, loud tread, and stood in the dark at 
the door which was to conduct me to the presence of the 
mysterious being. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. loi 



CHAPTER XIX. 

FACE TO PACE WITH DEVLIN, I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION 
OF HIM. 

I EAPPED with my knuckles, and a voice which could 
have been none other than the voice of Devlin immediately 
responded, calling to me to enter. The next moment 
I stood face to face with the strange creature, concerning 
whom my curiosity was raised to the highest pitch. He 
was sitting in a chair upon my entrance, and he did not 
rise from it; therefore I looked down upon him and he 
looked up at me. As my eyes rested on his face, I saw in 
it the inspiration of the evil expression in the faces of Mr. 
Lemon's portrait, the stone monster, and the bird's beak, 
which had made so profound an impression upon me in the 
parlour on the ground-floor. 

" You have been in the house some time," said Devlin. 

" I have," I answered. 

** And have had a long, a very long, conversation with 
my worthy landlady," he observed. 

'* Yes," I said. 

** About me," he said, not in the form of a question 
but as a statement of fact. 

*' Partly about you." 

** And about poor Lemon ?" 

** Yes, about him as well." 

** Sit down," said Devlin, ** I expected you." 

There was only one other chair in the room besides the 
one he occupied, and I accepted his invitation, and drew it 
up to the table. And there we sat gazing at each other 
for what appeared to me a long time in silence. 

The room was very poorly furnished. There were the 
two chairs, a small deal table, and a single iron bedstead in 
the comer. Off the room was a kind of closet, in which I sup- 
posed were a washstand and fittings. There was only one 
other article in view in addition to those I have mentioned, 



102 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

and that was a desk at which Devlin was writing.* He 
did not put away his papers, and I was enabled to observe, 
without undue prying, that his writing was very fine and 
very close. 

How shall I describe him ? A casual observation of 
his face and figure would not suffice for the detection of 
anything uncanny about him, but it must be remembered 
that I was abnormally excited, and most strangely interested 
in him. He was tall and dark, his face was long and 
spare ; his forehead was low ; his eyes were black, with an 
extraordinary brilliancy in them ; his mouth was large, and 
his lips thin. He wore a moustache, but no beard. In 
the order and importance of the impressions they produced 
upon me I should place first, his black eyes with their 
extraordinary brilliancy, and next, his hands, which were 
unusually small and white. They were the hands of a lady 
of gentle culture rather than those of a man in the class of 
life to which Devlin appeared to belong. Not alone was 
his social standing presumably fixed by the fact of his living 
in a room so poorly furnished at the top of a house so 
common as Mr. Lemon's, but his clothes were a special 
indication. They were shabby and worn ; black fi*ock- 
coat, black trousers and waistcoat, narrow black tie. Not 
a vestige of colour about them, and no sign of jewellery of 
any kind. 

** Well?" he said. 

I started. I had been so absorbed in my observance 
of him that I, who should have been the first to plunge 
into the conversation, had remained silent for a time so 
unreasonably long that the man upon whom I had intruded 
might have justly taken ofi'ence, 

**I beg your pardon," I said; " did you not remark 
that you expected me ?" 

* I have this desk, with its contents, now in my possession. 
The extraordinary revelations made therein (which I may mention 
have no connection with the present story) will one day be made 
public— B. L. F. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 103 

*^ May I inquire upon what grounds your expectation 
was based ?" 

He smiled ; and here I observed, in the quality of this 
smile, a characteristic of which Mrs. Lemon had given me 
no indication. Devlin was evidently gifted with a touch of 
humour. 

" I reason by analogy,'* he said. '* My landlady has 
very few visitors. You are here for the first time, with an 
object. You remain closeted with her for hours. She 
probably sent for you. During the long interview down- 
stairs you have been told a great deal about me. You 
hear me open the street-door, and you know I am in the 
house. My landlady has a trouble on her mind, and mixes 
me up with it. You have been made acquainted with this 
trouble and with my supposed connection with it. Your 
curiosity has been aroused, and you determine to seek an 
interview with me before you take your leave of her. 
You come up uninvited, and here you are, as I expected. 
Am I logical?" 

" Quite logical." 

*' In a common-sense view of commonplace matters — 
and everything in the world is commonplace — lies the 
ripest wisdom. Follow my example. Exercise your com- 
mon sense." 

But I did not immediately speak. Devlin's words 
were so different from what I had expected that I was for 
a moment at a loss. The prospect of my being able to 
bring the murderer of Lizzie Melladew to justice and of 
earning a thousand pounds did not appear so bright. 

**I will assist you," he resumed; **I will endeavour 
to set you at your ease with me. Your scrutiny of me 
has been very searching ; I ought to feel flattered. What 
anticipations of my appearance you may have entertained 
before you entered the room is your affair, not mine. How 
far they are realised is your affair, not mine. But allow 
me to assure you, my dear sir," and here he rose to hia 



I04 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

full height, and made me a half-humorous, half-mocking 
bow, *' that I am a very ordinary person." 

" That cannot be," I said, " after what I have heard." 

"It is the destiny," he said, resuming his seat, **of 
greater personages than myself to be ranked much higher 
than they deserve. Proceed." 

"I am here to speak to you about this murder," I 
said, plunging boldly into the subject. 

** Ah, about a murder I But there are so many." 

'* You know to which one I refer. The murder of a 
young girl in Victoria Park, which took place the night 
before last." 

** I have heard and read of it," said Devlin. 

"You know also," I continued, ^*that the tragedy has 
produced in Mr. Lemon a condition of mind and body which 
may lead to dangerous results, probably to a despairing 
death." 

** All men must die," he said cynically. 

I was now thoroughly aroused. * * I have come to you 
for an explanation," I said, "and it must be a satisfactory 
one." 

" You speak like an inquisitor," said Devlin, with a 
quiet smile, and I seemed to detect in his altered manner 
a desire to irritate me and to drive me into an excess of 
passion. For this reason I kept myself cool, and simply 
said, 

" I am resolved.** 

" Good. Keep resolved." 

"I shall do so. By some devilish and mysterious 
means you were aware, before the poor girl left her home 
on Friday night, that her doom was sealed. You could 
have prevented it, and you did not raise a hand to save 
her. This knowledge I have gained from Mr. Lemon, to 
whom, through you, the impending tragedy was known." 

" Then why did he not prevent it ?" 

"It was not in his power. He was not acquainted 
with the names of the murderer and his victim." 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. X05 

'* You must have been. I do not pretend to an under- 
standing of the extraordinary power you exercise, but I am 
convinced that, in connection with you, there is a mystery 
which should be brought to light, and if I can be the agent 
to unmask you I am ready for the work. With all the 
earnestness of my soul, I swear it." 

A low laugh escaped Devlin's lips. ** Were a com- 
missioner of lunacy here," he said, ** you would be in peril. 
This young girl you speak of, is she in any way connected 
with you?" 

** She was my friend; I knew her from childhood; 
ehe has sat at my table with her sister and parents, and 
I and mine have sat at theirs. Her family are plunged 
into the lowest depths of despair by the cruel, remorseless 
blow which has fallen upon them." 

" And you have taken upon yourself the task of an 
avenger. It is chivalrous, but is it entirely unselfish ? I 
am always suspicious of mere words ; there is ever behind 
them a secret motive, hidden by a dark curtain. I speak 
in metaphor, but you will seize my meaning, for you are a 
man of nerve and intelligence, utterly unlike our friend in 
the room below, whose nature is servile and abject, and 
who is not, as you are, given to heroics. Calm yourself. 
I am ready to discuss this matter with you, but in your 
present condition I should have the advantage of you. You 
are heated ; I am cool and collected. You have some self- 
interest at heart ; I have none. Your words are so wild 
that any person but myself hearing them would take you 
for a madman. For your own sake — not for mine, for the 
affair does not concern me — I advise moderation of lan- 
guage. I suppose you will scarcely believe that the man 
upon whom you have unceremoniously intruded, and against 
whom you launch accusations, the very extravagance of 
which renders them unworthy of serious consideration — you 
will scarcely believe that this man is simply a poor barber 
who has not a second coat to his back, nor a second pair of 



io6 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

shoes to his feet. But it is a fact — a proof of the injustice 
of the world, ever blind to merit. For I am not only a 
barber, sir, I am a capable workman, as I will convince you. 
Pray do not move ; a cooling essence and a brush skilfully 
used effect wonders on an over-heated head." 

It was not in my power to resist him. He had taken 
his place behind my chair, and before he had finished 
speaking had sprinkled a liquid over my head which was so 
overpoweringly refreshing that I insensibly yielded to its 
influence. With brush and comb he arranged my hair, his 
small white hands occasionally touching my forehead gently 
and persuasively. When I thought afterwards of this 
strange incident I called to mind that, for the two or three 
minutes during which he was engaged in the exercise of his 
art, I was in a kind of quiet dream, in which all the agita- 
ting occurrences of the previous day in connection with the 
murder of Lizzie Melladew were mentally repeated in pro- 
per sequence, closing with Mr. Portland's offer of a thousand 
pounds for the discovery of the murderer. It was, as it 
were, a kind of panorama which passed before me of all 
that occurred between morning and night. I looked up, 
inexpressibly refreshed, and with my mind bright and clear. 
Devlin stood before me, smiling. 

** Confess, sir," he said, in a soft persuasive tone, 
*'that I have returned good for evil. The fever of the 
brain is abated, or I am a bungler indeed. We will now 
discuss the matter." 



CHAPTER XX. 

DEVLIN ASTONISHES ME. 



" I REMAKKED to you just now," he said, seating him- j 
self comfortably in his chair, ** that I am always suspicious j 
of mere words, for the reason that there is ever a secret i 
motive behind them. From what you have said I should 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 107 

be justified in supposing that your desire to discover the 
mystery in which the death of your poor young friend is 
involved springs simply from sympathy with her bereaved 
family. I will not set a trap for you, and pin you to that 
statement by asking questions which you would answer only 
in one way. You would argue with yourself probably as to 
the disiugenuousness of those answers, but would finally 
appease your conscience by deciding that I, a perfect 
stranger to you and your affairs, cannot possibly have any- 
thing to do with the private motives by which you are 
influenced. Say, for instance, by such a motive as the 
earning of a reward which we will put down at a thousand 
pounds." 

For the life of me I could not restrain a start of aston- 
ishment. It was the exact sum Mr. Portland had offered 
me. By what dark means had Devlin divined it ? 

*' You need not be discomposed," said Devlin. *'The 
thing is natural enough. You have credited me with so much 
that it will harm neither of us if you credit me with a little 
more — say, with a certain faculty for reading men's thoughts. 
The world knows very little as yet ; it has much to learn ; 
and I, in my humble way, may be a master in a new species 
of spiritual power. Now, I have a profound belief in Fate; 
what it wills must inevitably be. And, impressed by this 
article of faith, I, the master, may bo willing to become 
the slave. Fate has led you to this house, and it may 
be that you are an instrument in discoveries yet to 
be made. I continue, you observe, to speak occasionally 
in metaphor. Be as frank with me as I have been 
with you. No, don't trouble yourself to speak immediately. 
In the words you were about to utter there is a subterfuge ; 
you have not yet made up your mind to be entirely open 
with me. You and I meet now for the first time. Before 
this day I have never known of your existence, nor have 
you been aware of mine." 

** If that be true," I said, interrupting him, **what 
made you mention the reward of a specific sum ?" 



io8 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

" Of a thousand pounds ?" he asked, smiling. 

" Exactly." 

*' Do you deny that such a reward has been offered to 
you ?" 

"I do not deny it; but by what mysterious means 
did you come to the knowledge of it ?" 

** Because it is in your mind, my dear sir," he said. 

*' That is no answer." 

** Is it not ? I should have thought it would satisfy 
you, but you are inclined to be unreasonable. Come, now, 
I will show you how little I am concealing from you with 
respect to my knowledge of your movements." He shaded 
his eyes with his hand, and looked at me from beneath it. 

" I do not know your name, nor in what part of Lon- 
don you reside, but certainly you and your wife — no doubt 
a most estimable lady — were sitting together at breakfast 
yesterday morning." 

He paused, and waited for me to speak. '* It is 
quite true," I said ; '* but there is nothing unusual in hus- 
band and wife partaking of that meal in company." 

** Nothing in the least unusual if a man is master of his 
own time, as you were yesterday morning, for the first time 
for a long while past. The fact is, you had lost a situation 
in which you have been employed for years." 

I sat spellbound. Devlin continued : 

** The breakfast-things are on the table, and you and 
your lady are discussing ways and means. You are not 
rich, and you look forward with some fear to the future. 
Times are hard, and situations are not easy to obtain. In 
the midst of your consultation a man rushes into the room. 
He is a middle-aged man. Shall I describe him ?" 

** If you can," I said, my wonder growing. 

He gave me a fairly faithful description of Mr. Melladew, 
and proceeded : 

** A great grief has fallen upon this man. It is only 
within the last hour that he has discovered that his 
daughter had been murdered. He remains with you some 



DEVLIN THE MRBER. lof) 

time, and then other persons make their appearance, among 
them newspaper reporters and policemen, all doubtless 
drawn to your house by this business of the murder. You 
have also an interview with a young gentleman. The day 
passes. It is evening, and you are seated with another 
person. By this person you are offered one thousand pounds 
if you discover the murderer of the young girl, and another 
thousand if you find her sister, who has strangely disappeared. 
I do not wish to deprive you of such credit as belongs to a 
man who sympathises with a friend in trouble ; but it is 
certainly a fact that the dim prospect of earning such a hand- 
some sum of money is very strong within you. That 
is all." 

I deliberated awhile in silence, and Devlin did not dis- 
turb my musings. All that he had narrated had passed 
through my mind while he was engaged in dressing my hair. 
Had he the power of reading thoughts by the mere action 
of his fingers upon a man's head? No other solution 
occurred to me, and had I not been placed in my present 
position I should instantly have rejected it ; but now I was 
in the mood for entertaining it, wild and incredible as it 
appeared. During this interval of silence I made a strong 
endeavour to calm myself for what was yet to take place 
between me and Devlin, and I was successful. When I 
spoke I was more composed. 

** You say you do not know where I live. Is it true ?*' 
I asked. 

** Quite true," he answered. 

" You do not really know my name ?'* 

*adonot." 

'* Nor the names of my visitors ?'* 

" Nor the names of your visitors.'* 

" But you must be aware," I said, ** admitting, for the 
sake of argument, that you are not romancing " 

" Yes," he said, laughing, ** admitting that, for the sake 
of argument." 

**You must be aware that the name of the first man 



110 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

who visited me — he being, as you have declared, the father 
of the murdered girl — is Melladew." 

**I am aware of it, not from actual knowledge, |but 
from what I have read in the newspapers." 

" But of the name of the gentleman who, you say, offers 
the reward of a thousand pounds, you are ignorant." 

*' Quite ignorant. Now, having replied to your ques- 
tions frankly, confess that you have forced yourself upon me 
with a distinct motive, in which I, a stranger to you, am 
interested." 

** My object is to discover the mnrderer and bring him 
to justice." 

"A very estimable design." 

** And also to discover what has become of the mur- 
dered girl's sister." 

** Exactly. How do you propose to accomplish your 
object?" 

'* Through you." 

"Indeed! Through me?" 

**As surely as we are in the same room together, 
through you. Receive what I am about to say as the fixed 
resolve of a man who sees before him a stem duty and will 
not flinch from it. Having come into association with you, 
I am determined not to lose sight of you. I put aside any 
further consideration of a strange and inexplicable mystery 
in connection with yourself as being utterly and entirely 
beyond my power to understand." 

" My dear sir," said Devlin, with a glance at his shabby 
clothes, " you flatter me." 

** All my energies now are bent to one purpose, which, 
through you, I shall carry to its certain end. You have 
made yourself plain to me. I hope up to this point I have 
made myself plain to you." 

** You are the soul of lucidity," said Devlin, ** but much 
remains yet to explain. For the sake of argument we have 
admitted an element of romance into this very prosaic 
matter ; for it is really prosaic, almost commonplace. Life 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. ill 

is largely made up of tragedies and mysteries, the majority 
of them petty and contemptible, a few only deserving to be 
called grand. As a matter of fact, my dear sir, existence, 
with all its worries, anxieties, hopes, and disappointments, is 
nothing better than a game of pins and needles. It is the 
littleness of human nature that magnifies a pin prick into a 
wound of serious importance. To think that some of these 
mortals should call themselves philosophers 1 It is laugh- 
able. Do you follow me ?" 

*'Not entirely," I replied, **but I have some small 
glimmering of your meaning." 

** Were your mind," said Devlin, shaking with internal 
laughter, *' quite free from the influence of that thousand 
pounds, it would be clearer. In the grand Scheme of 
Nature, so far as mortals comprehend it, the potent screw 
is human selfishness. These speculations, however, are 
perhaps foreign to the point. Let us continue our amicable 
argument until we thoroughly understand each other upon 
the subject of this murder. You see, my dear sir, I wish 
ti> know exactly how I stand ; for despite the extraordinary 
opinion you have formed of me, it is you who have assumed 
the role of Controller of Destinies. I am but a mere instru- 
ment in your hands." He measured me with his eyes. 
**You are well built, and are, I should judge, a powerful 
man." 

** You are contemplating the probability of a physical 
struggle between us," I said. ** Dismiss it ; there will be 
none." 

He made me a mocking bow. **My mind is, indeed, 
relieved. You do not intend violence, then. I am free to 
leave the house if I wish — at this moment, if I please. 
Have you taken that contingency into account ?" 

''I have." 

** You will not attempt to detain me by force ?" 

** No." 

** In such an event, how will you act ?" 

** I shall follow you, and to the first policeman I meet I 



112 1)E VLIM Tti^ BAkBER, 

shall say, * Arrest that person. He is implicated in the 
murder of Lizzie Melladew.' " 

Devlin cast upon me a look of admiration. ** That 
would be awkward," he said. 

*' Decidedly awkward — for you." 

** You would be asked to furnish evidence." 

*' Direct evidence it would be, at present, out of my 
power to supply," I said ; I was on my mettle ; my mental 
forces were never clearer, were never more resolutely set 
upon one object; **but there is such a thing as circum- 
stantial evidence. Mr. Lemon and his wife should come 
forward, and relate all that they know concerning you. 
You and Mr. Lemon are carrying on a business somewhere ; 
the place should be searched ; it should be made food for 
the multitude who are ever on the hunt for the sensa- 
tional. Your desk on the table here contains writings of 
yours ; they may throw light upon the investigation. So 
we should go on, step by step, independent of your assist- 
ance, until we get the murderer — who may or may not be 
an accomplice of yours — into the clutches of the law." 

Towards the end of this speech I had risen and ap- 
proached the window, which faced the square. Mechanically 
lifting the blind, I looked out, and saw what arrested my 
attention. By the railings on the opposite side, with his 
eyes raised to the window, was the figure of a man. He 
was standing quite motionless, and, the night being fine, 
with a panoply of stars in the sky, I presently recognised 
the figure to be that of George Carton, poor Lizzie Mella- 
dew's distracted lover. At some little distance from him 
was the figure of another man, whose movements were dis- 
tinguished by restlessness, and in him I recognised Carton's 
guardian, Mr. Kenneth Dowsett. 

** Looking for a policeman ?" inquired Devlin, with a 
touch of amusement in his voice. 

**No," I replied, *' but I am pleased to discover that 
I am not alone, that I have friends outside ready to assist 
me the moment I call upon them," 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 113 

Devlin rose, and joined me at the window. 

** Is your sight very keen ?" he asked. 

" Keen enough to recognise friends," I said. 

**Mine is wonderful," said Devlin, *' quite catlike; 
another of my abnormal qualities. I can plainly distin- 
guish the features of the two men upon whom we are 
gazing. One is young. Who is he ?" 

*' His name," I replied, believing that entire frankness 
would be more likely to win Devlin to my side, " is George 
Carton." 

**I recognise him; he was in your house yesterday 
morning. He seems distressed. There is a troubled look 
in his face." 

** He was the murdered girl's lover." 

**Ah! And. the other, the elder man, casting anxious 
glances upon the younger — who may he be ?" 

** His name is Mr. Kenneth Dowsett. He is young 
Carton's guardian." 

** Thank you," said Devlin, returning to his seat at the 
table. I dropped the blind, and resumed my seat opposite 
to him, and then I observed a singular smile upon his face, 
to which I could attach no meaning. 

** I presented," he said, ** a certain contingency to you, 
the contingency of my leaving this house, and you have 
been delightfully explicit as to the course you would pursue. 
But, my dear sir, crediting myself with a species of occult 
power, which you appear ready to grant to me, might it not 
be in my power to vanish, to disappear from your sight the 
moment the policeman you would summons attempted to 
lay hands upon me ?" 

*' I must chance that," I said. 

** Good. Nothing of the sort will occur, I promise. I 
cannot carry on my pursuit as a Shadow. The idea of 
leaving the house did occur to me ; I banish it. Well, 
then, suppose I remain here ; suppose I put an end to this 
discussion ; suppose I go to bed. To all your vapouriugs, 
suppose I say, * Go to the devil !' Why on earth do you 

I 



114 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

stare at me so ? It is a common saying, and the awful 
consequences of such a journey are seldom thought of. I 
repeat, I say to you, * Go to the devil !' What, 
then ?" 

**I still could summon a policeman,** I said; "hut 
even if I postponed that step or you managed to escape 
from me, I have a talent which, now that it occurs to me, 
I shall immediately press into my service." 

** Enlighten me." 

I took from my pocket some letters, and tore from 
them three hlank leaves, upon which I set to work with 
pencil. My task occupied me ten minutes and more, 
during which time Devlin, sitting hack in his chair, watched 
me with an expression of intense amusement in his face. 
When I had finished I handed him one of the hlank leaves. 

** My portrait !" he exclaimed. " I am an artist myself, 
as you have seen in Mrs. Lemon*s parlour. This picture 
is the very image of me !" 

" There is no mistaking it,** I said complacently. " It 
will insure recognition.** 

** In what way do you propose to turn it to advantage, 
in the event of my being contumacious ?" 

" You have doubtless," I said, ** noted the changes 
that have taken place in the life of civilised cities ?" 

*' Excellent," he said. "My dear sir, you compel my 
admiration; you are altogether so different a person from 
the simpleton who lies shaking in his bed on the floor 
below. You have brain power. My worthy landlord and 
partner would have as well fulfilled his destiny had he been 
a mouse. The changes that have taken place ! Ah, what 
changes have I not seen, say, in the course of the last thou- 
sand years !" And here he laughed loud and long. " But 
proceed, my dear sir, proceed. How do these changes 
affect me in the matter we are now considering ?'* 

*' There was a time — — " 

"Really, like the beginning of a fairy story," he inter- 
posed. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, I15 

** When public opinion was of small weight, whereas 
now it is the most important factor in social affairs." 

" Lucidly put. I listen to you with interest." 

** The penny newspaper," I observed sagely, **is a 
mighty engine." 

** You speak with the wisdom of a platitudinarian." 

**It enlists itself in the cause of justice, and frequently 
plays, to a serviceable end, the part of a detective. You 
may remember the case of Leroy." 

** A poor bungler, a very poor bungler. A small mind, 
my dear sir, eaten up by self-conceit of the lowest and 
meanest quality." 

*'For a long time Leroy evaded justice, but at length 
he was arrested. A popular newspaper published in its 
columns a portrait of the wretch " 

** I see," said Devlin, ** and you would publish my 
portrait in the newspapers ?" 

** In every paper that would give it admittance; and 
few would refuse. Beneath it should be words to the effect 
that it was the portrait of a man who knew, before its 
committal, that the murder of the poor girl Lizzie Mel- 
ladew was planned, and who must, therefore, be implicated 
in it. The portrait would lead to your arrest, and then 
Mr. and Mrs. Lemon would come forward with certain 
facts. Mr. Devlin, I would make London too hot to hold 
you." 

" An expressive phrase. Your plan is more than ordi- 
narily clever; it is ingenious. And London," said Devlin 
thoughtfully, **is such a place to work in, such a place to 
live in, such a place to observe in ! To be banished from 
it would be a great misfortune. What other city in the 
world is so full of devilment and crime ; what other city in 
the world is so full of revelations ; what other city in the 
world is so full of opportunities, so full of contrasts, so full 
of hypocrisy and frivolity, so full of cold-blooded villainy ? 
The gutters, with their ripening harvests of vice for gaol 
find gallows ; the perfumed gardens, the fevered courts ; 



Ti6 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

the river, with its burden of jewels and beauty, with its 
burden of woe and despair ; the bridges, with their nightly 
load of hunger, sin, and shame; the mansions, with their 
music, and false smiles, and aching hearts; the garrets, 
with their dim lights flickering ; the bells, with their solemn 
warning ; the busy streets, with their scheming life ; the 
smug faces, the pinched bellies, the satins, the rags, the 
social treacheries, the suicides, the secret crimes, the rot- 
ting souls ! My dear sir, the prospect of your making 
such a field too hot to hold even such a poor tatter-dema- 
lion as myself overwhelms me. What is the alternative ?" 
*' That you pledge yourself by all that is holy and 
sacred to give me your fullest assistance towards the disco- 
very of Lizzie Melladew's murderer." 



CHAPTER XXI. 

DEVLIN AND I MAKE A COMPACT. 

'* A SACEED and holy pledge," said Devlin, '* from me ? 
Is it possible that you ask me to bind myself to you by a 
pledge that you deem holy and sacred ?" 

" I know of no other way to secure your assistance," 1 
said, feeling the weight of the sneer. 

*' If you did, you would adopt it ?" 

*' Assuredly." 

*' So that, after all, you are to a certain extent in my 
power." 

** As you to a certain extent are in mine." 

*'A fair retort. Before I point out to you how 
illogical and inconsistent you are, let me thank you for 
having converted what promised to be a dull evening into a 
veritable entertainment. It is a real cause for gratitude in 
such a house as Lemon's, of whom I have already spoken 
disparagingly, but ef whom I cannot speak disparagingly 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 



117 



enough. My dear sir, that person is devoid of colour, his 
moral and physical qualities are feeble, his intellect may be 
said to be washed out. It is the bold, the daring, that 
recommends itself to me, although I admit that there are 
curious studies to be found among the meanest of mortals. 
Now, my dear sir, for your inconsistency and your lack of 
the logical quality. My worthy landlady has conveyed to 
you an impression of me which, to describe it truthfully, 
may be designated unearthly. How much farther it goes I 
will not inquire. Her small capacity has instilled into what, 
as a compliment, I will call her mind, a belief that I am 
not exactly human — in point of fact, that if I am not the 
Evil One himself, I am at least one of his satellites. Com- 
mon people are inclined to such extravagances. They 
believe in apparitions, vampires, and supernatural signs, or, 
to speak more correctly, in signs which they believe to be 
supernatural. The most ordinary coincidences — and think, 
my dear sir, that there are myriads of circumstances, of 
more or less importance, occurring every twenty-four hours 
in this motley world, and that it is a mathematical cer- 
tainty that a certain proportion of these myriads should be 
coeval and should bear some relation to each other — the 
most ordinary coincidences, I repeat, are outrageously mag- 
nified by their imaginations when, say, sickness or death is 
concerned. A woman wakes up in the night, and in the 
darkness hears a ticking — tick, tick, tick ! She rises in 
the morning, and hears that her mother-in-law has died 
during the night. 'Bless my sohI !' she exclaims. *I 
knew it, I knew it ! Last night I woke up all of a tremble * 
— (which, she did not, but that is a detail) — * and heard 
the death-tick !' The story, being told to the neighbours, 
invests this woman, who is proud of having received a 
supernatural warning, with supreme importance. She be- 
comes for a time a social star. She relates the story again 
and again, and each time adds something whiqh her imagi- 
nation suppUes, until, in the end, it is settled that her 
mother-in-law died at the precise moment she woke up ; 



ii8 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

that she saw the ghost of that person at her bedside, very 
ghastly and sulphury, in the moonlight — (it is always 
moonlight on these occasions) — that the ghost whispered 
in sepulchral tones, * I am dying, good-bye ;' that there 
was a long wail ; and that then she jumped out of bed 
and screamed, * My mother-in-law is dead !' This is the 
story after it has grown. What are the facts ? The 
woman has eaten a heavy supper, and she sleeps not so well 
as usual ; she wakes up in the middle of the night. In 
the kitchen a mouse creeps on to the dresser, after some 
crumbs of bread and cheese which are in a plate. The 
ever-watchful cat — I love cats, especially good mousers — 
jumps upon the dresser, with the intention of making a 
meal of the mouse. On the dresser, then, at this precise 
moment, are the plate containing the crumbs of bread and 
cheese, the mouse, and the cat. There are other things 
there, of course, but there is only one other thing connected 
with the story, and that is a jug half-full of water. The 
cat, jumping after the mouse, overturns this jug, and the 
water flows till it reaches the edge of the dresser, whence 
it drips, drips, drips, upon the floor. This is the tick, 
tick, tick which the woman upstairs hears — the death-tick 
of her mother-in-law I Her mother-in-law is eighty-seven 
years of age, and has been ill for months ; her death is 
daily expected. She dies on this night, and the story is 
complete. A dying old woman, eighty-seven years of age, 
her daughter-in-law who has eaten too much supper, a plate 
of crumbs, a jug with water in it, a cat, and a mouse. Of 
these simple materials is a message from the unseen world 
created, which enthrals the entire neighbourhood. Analyse 
the miracles handed down from ancient times, some of 
which are woven into the religious beliefs of the people, and 
you will find that they are composed of parts as common 
and vulgar.'* 

I made no attempt to interrupt Devlin in his narration 
of this commonplace story. He had, when he chose to 
exercise it, a singularly fascinating manner, and his voice 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 119 

was melodious, and when he paused I felt as if I had been 
listening to an attractive romance. While he spoke, his 
fingers were playing with a penholder and a pencil which 
•were on the table ; the penholder was long, the pencil was 
short, and I observed that he had placed one upon the 
other in the form of a cross. 

** I am dull, perhaps," I said, '* but I do not see how 
your story proves me to be illogical and inconsistent." 

**I related it," replied Devlin, looking at the cross, 
** simply to show how willing people are to believe in the 
supernatural. My worthy landlady believes that J am a 
supernatural being ; her husband believes it ; you are in- 
clined to lend a ready ear to it. And yet you tell me that 
you will be satisfied with a sacred and holy pledge from 
me, knowing, if you are at all correct in your estimate of 
me, that such a pledge is of as much weight and value 
as a soap bubble. How easy for me to give you this pledge ! 
And all the while I may be a direct accessory in the tragedy 
you have resolved to unriddle." 

" I thank you for reminding me," I said. ** You shall 
swear to me that you have had no hand in this most 
horrible and dastardly murder." 

" More inconsistency, more lack of logical perception," 
he said, and the magnetism in his eyes compelled me to 
fix my gaze upon the cross on the table. ** You ask me to 
swear, and you will be content with my oath. I render you 
my obligations for your faith in my veracity. How shall I 
swear ? How shall I deliver myself of the sacred and holy 
pledge ? There are so many forms, so many symbols, of 
pledging one's mortal heart and immortal soul. The civil- 
ised Jew, when he is married to his beloved under the 
canopy, grinds a wine glass to dust with the heel of his 
boot, and the guests and relatives, especially the relatives 
of the bride, lift up their voices in joyful praise, with the 
conscious self-delusion that this sacred rite insures the 
faithfulness of the bridegroom to the woman he has wedded. 
Some bum wax candles — very bad wax often — for the 



I20 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

release of souls from purgatory. The Chinaman, called 
upon for his oath, blows out a candle, twists the neck of a 
terrified cock, or smashes a saucer. The Christian kisses 
the New Testament ; the Jew kisses the Old. The Chris- 
tian swears with his hat off; the Jew with his hat on. I 
could multiply anomalies, all opposed to each other. Which 
kind of obligation would you prefer from me ? A cock or a 
hen ? Produce the sacred symbol, and I am ready. Shall 
my head be covered or uncovered ? As you please. Ah, 
how strange ! With this pencil and penholder my fingers 
have insensibly formed a cross. Shall I swear upon that, 
and will it content you ? Take your choice, my dear sir, 
take your choice. Call me Jew, Christian, Pagan, China- 
man — which you please. I am willing to oblige you. Or shall 
we be sensible. Will you take my simple word for it ?" 

" I will," I said ; *' but I must have a hostage." 

" Anything, anything, my dear sir. Give it a name." 

*'Your desk," I said, ** which not unlikely contains 
private writings and confessions." 

**It does," he replied, tapping on the desk with his 
knuckles. ** You little dream of the treasures, the strange 
secrets, herein contained. You would have this as a 
hostage ?" 

** I would." 

" It shall be yours, on the understanding that if I claim 
it from you within three months after the mystery of the 
murder of Lizzie Melladew is cleared up, you will deliver 
it to me again intact, with its contents unread." 

** I promise faithfully," I said. 

** I must trouble you," he said ; and he suddenly placed 
his hand upon my forehead, and stood over me. ** Yes," 
he said, resuming his seat, ** the promise is faithfully made. 
You will keep it." 

He locked the desk, and pushed it across the table to 
me, putting the key in his pocket. 

** And now, your word of truth and honour," I said. 

** Give me your hand. On my truth and honour I pledge 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 121 

myself to you. Moreover, if it will ease your mind of an 
absurd suspicion, I declare, on my truth and honour, that 
I have had nothing whatever to do with this murder." 

His words carried conviction with them. 

** But you will assist me in my search ?" I said, 

** To the extent of my power. Understand, however, 
that I do not undertake that your search shall be success- 
ful. It does not depend upon me ; accident will probably 
play its part in the matter. There is a clause, moreover, 
in our agreement to which I require your adhesion. It is, 
that during your search you will do nothing to fasten pub- 
licity upon me, and that, in the event of your succeeding, 
I shall not be dragged into the case." 

*' Unless you are required as a witness," I said. 

** I shall not be required. I have no evidence to offer 
which a court of law would accept." 

" Who is to be the judge of that ?'* 

** You yourself." 

"I agree. You must not regard me as a spy upon 
your movements when I tell you I shall sleep in this house 
to-night." 

**Not at all. That you are a man of mettle — a man 
who can form a resolution and carry it out, never mind at 
what inconvenience to yourself — makes your company agree- 
able to me. I like you ; I accept you as my comrade, for 
a brief space, in lieu of that miserable groveller Lemon, 
who has no more strength of nerve than a jelly-fish. Sleep 
in the house, and welcome. Sleep in this room." 

** Where ?" I asked, looking around for the accommo- 
dation. 

*' A shake-down on the floor. Our mutual good friend 
Mrs. Lemon shall bring up a mattress, a pillow, a sheet, 
and a pair of blankets, and you shall lie snug and warm. 
I do not offer you my own bed, for I know that, having the 
instincts of a gentleman, you would not accept it, but I 
offer you the hospitality of my poor apartment. We will 
Bup together, we will sleep together, in the morning we will 



122 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

breakfast together, and we will go out to business together, 
you taking the position of poor Lemon, whom, from this 
moment, I cast off for ever. What say you ?" 

I debated with myself. It was important that I should 
not lose sight of Devlin ; left to my own resources, I should 
not know how to proceed ; I depended entirely upon him 
to supply me with a clue. But what could be his reason 
for proposing that we should go out to business together ? 
Of what use could I be in a barber's shop, and how would 
my presence there assist me ? As, however, he appeared 
to be dealing frankly and honestly, my best course perhaps 
would be to do the same. Therefore I put the questions 
which perplexed me in plain language. 

.**My dear sir," he replied, **in my place of business, 
and in no other place, shall we be able to find a starting- 
point. Do not entail upon me the necessity of saying * upon 
my truth and honour ' to everything I advance. Have con- 
fidence in me, and you will be a thousand pounds the richer, 
probably two, if the gentleman who made you the offer 
keeps his word.** 

I hesitated no longer. I would act frankly and boldly, 
and for the next twenty-four hours at least would be guided 
by him. 

** I accept your hospitality,*' I said, ** and will do as 
you wish.** 

** Good,** he said, rubbing his hands ; ** we may regard 
the campaign as opened. Woe to the murderer ! Justice 
shall overtake him; he shall hang!** He uttered these 
words in a tone of malignant satisfaction, and as though 
the prospect of any man being hanged was thoroughly 
agreeable to him. " I will prove to you,** he continued, 
** how completely you can trust me. You came here to-day 
with the intention of returning home and sleeping there. 
Your absence will alarm your wife. You must write to 
her." 

He placed notepaper and envelopes before me, and 
took from the mantelshelf a penny stone bottle of ink, then 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 123 

pointed to the pen which formed part of th^ cross upon the 
table. 

I wrote a line to my wife, informing her that events of 
great importance had occurred in relation to the murder of 
Lizzie Melladew, and that, for the purpose of following up 
the threads of a possible discovery, I intended to sleep out 
to-night ; I desired her in my letter to go and see Mr. 
Portland and tell him that I was engaged in the task he 
had intrusted to me, and believed I should soon be in pos- 
session of a clue. ** Have no anxiety for me," I said ; ** I 
am quite safe, and no harm will befaU me. The prospect 
of unravelling this dreadful mystery fills me with joy." She 
would know what I meant by this; the murderer dis- 
covered, we should be comparatively rich. I fastened and 
addressed my letter. 

**It should reach her hands to-night," said Devlin. 
" How will you send it ?" 

I stepped to the window, and, looking out, distinguished 
the figures of George Carton and Mr. Kenneth Dowsett, 
Mr. Dowsett seemed to be endeavouring, unavailingly, to 
persuade his ward to come away with him. I could employ 
no better messenger than George Carton ; he should take 
my letter to my wife. Returning to the centre of the room, 
my eyes fell upon Devlin's desk. Devlin smiled and nodded ; 
he knew what was passing in my mind. 

**I shall send my letter," I said, **by the hands of 
George Carton, who is still in the square, and I shall send 
your desk with it." 

** Do so," said Devlin. 

I opened the envelope, and tearing it into very small 
pieces flung them out of window. Devlin smiled again. 

** So that I should not discover your address," he said. 

** That is it," I replied. 

** It is likely," he said, ** to be not very far from Mr. 
Melladew, because you and he are friends." 

I added a few words to my letter, desiring my wife to 
put the desk in a place of safety; and then, addressing 



124 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

another envelope, I went down- stairs, bearing both desk and 
letter. 

"I shall be here when you come back,'* said Devlin. 
" Even were I protean, I shall not change my shape. My 
word is given." 

On my way to the street-door I encountered Fanny 
Lemon. 

" Well, sir?" she asked anxiously. 

*'I will speak to you presently," I said, and, opening 
the street-door, crossed the road to where George Carton 
and his guardian were standing. 



CHAPTER XXII. 
I SEND Devlin's desk to my wife, and smoke a fragrant 

CIGAR. 

** This foolish, headstrong lad wiU be the death of me," 
said Mr. Dowsett in a 'fretful tone, ** and of himself as 
well." 

** I am neither foolish nor headstrong," retorted the 
unhappy young man. **I told you he was in there still, 
and you told me he had left the house." 

" I said it for your good," said Mr. Dowsett, *' but you 
will not be ruled." 

** No, I will not !" exclaimed George Carton violently; 
and then said remorsefully, **I beg you to forgive me for 
speaking so wildly ; it is the height of ingratitude after all 
your goodness to me. But do you not see — for God's sake, 
do you not see-^— that you are making things worse instead 
of better for me by opposing me as you are doing ? I will 
have my way ! I will, whether I am right or wrong !" 

** My poor boy," said Mr. Dowsett, addressing me, 
* * has got it into his foolish head that you can be of some 
assistance to him. In heaven's name, how can you be ?" 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 125 

** Mr. Dowsett," I said, and the strange experiences of 
the last few hours imported, I felt, a solemnity into my voice, 
** the ends of justice are sometimes reached by roads we 
cannot see. It may be so in this sad instance." 

** There," said George Carton to his guardian, in a 
tone of melancholy triumph, ** did I not tell you ?" 

Mr. Dowsett shrugged his shoulders impatiently, and 
said, ** I declare that if I did not love my ward with a love 
as sincere and perfect as any human being ever felt for 
another, I would wash my hands of this business alto- 
gether." 

**But why," said Carton, with much affection, **do 
you torment yourself about it at all ?" 

** It is you I torment myself about," said Mr. Dowsett, 
** not the horrible deed. I love you with a father's love, 
and I cannot leave you in the state you are." 

George Carton put his arm around his guardian caress- 
ingly. ** I am not worth it," he murmured; **I am not 
worth it ; but I cannot act otherwise than I do. Sir " — to 
me — *'I have lingered here in the hope that you might 
have some news to tell me." 

*'I have nothing I can communicate to you," I said; 
**but rest assured that my interest in the discovery of the 
murderer is scarcely less than yours. I have taken up 
the search, and I will not rest while there is the shadow 
of a hope left." 

*' I knew it, I knew it," said George Carton. 

** Knowing it, then," I said, **and receiving the as- 
surance from my lips, will you do me a service, and be 
guided by my advice ?" 

** I will, indeed I will," replied Carton. 

** It is heartbreaking," said Mr. Dowsett mournfully, 
turning his head, "to find a stranger's counsel preferred to 
mine." 

*'No, no," cried George Carton, **I declare to you, 
no ! But you would have me do nothing, and I cannot 
obey you. I cannot — I cannot sit idly down, and make no 



126 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

effort in the cause of justice. My dear Lizzie is dead, and 
I do not care to live. But I will live for one thing — 
revenge !" 

** Be calm," I said, taking the young man's fevered hand, 
*' and listen to me. I wish you to take this letter and desk 
to mv wife, and deliver them to her with your own hands. 
WillVou do so ?" 

**Yes." 

** You must not part with them under any pretext or 
persuasion until you place them in my wife's possession." 

** No one shall touch them till she receives them." 

" You must go at once, for she is anxious about me. 
I intend to sleep here to-night. And when you have done 
what I ask you, I beg you to go home with your guardian, 
and have a good night's rest." 

He looked discontented at this, but Mr. Dowsett said, 
"Be persuaded, George, be persuaded !" 

** Believe me," I said, speaking very earnestly, *' that 
it will be for the best." 

" Very well, sir. I will do as you desire. But " — 
turning to Mr. Dowsett — "no opiates. If sleep comes to 
me, it shall come naturally." 

"I promise you, George," said Mr. Dowsett; "and 
now let us go. Thank you, sir, thank you a thousand 
times, for having prevailed upon my ward to do what is 
right. Come, George, come.'* 

He was so anxious to get the young man away that he 
advanced a few steps quickly; thus for two or three moments 
Carton and I were alone. 

" Shall I see you to-morrow, sir," asked Carton. 

"In all probability," I replied; "but do not seek me 
here. I have your address, and will either call upon or 
write to you." 

" Then I am to remain home all day ?" 

"Yes. By following my instructions you will be ren- 
dering me practical assistance." 

" Very well, sir. I put all my trust in you." 



I 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 127 

** Are you coming, George ?" cried Mr. Dowsett, look- 
ing back. 

** Yes, I am ready," said the young man, joining his 
guardian ; and presently they were both out of sight. 

I reentered the house. Fanny Lemon was still in the 
passage. 

'* Fanny," I said, ** I cannot keep long with you, as I 
have business up-stairs with Mr. Devlin ; but I wish to 
impress upon you not to speak to a single soul of what has 
passed between us to-day. Say nothing to anybody about 
Mr. Lemon being ill, and, above all, do not call in a doctor. 
Doctors are apt to be inquisitive, and it is of the highest 
importance that curiosity shall not be aroused in the minds 
of the neighbours. There is nothing radically wrong with 
Lemon ; he has received a fright, and his nerves are shaken, 
that is all. TeU him that I have taken his place with 
Devlin, and that the partnership is at an end. That will 
relieve his mind. Keep him quiet, and give him nothing 
to drink but milk or barley water. Lower his system, 
Fanny, lower his system." 

" Don't you think it low enough already, sir?" asked 
Fanny. 

**I do not; he is in a state of dangerous excitement, 
and everything must be done to soothe and quiet him. 
But I have no more time to waste. You will do as I have 
told you ?" 

** Yes, sir, I'll be careful to. But are you sure he don't 
want a doctor ? Are you sure he won't die ?" 

* ' Quite sure ; and you can tell him, if you like, that 1 
BSij it is all right." 

''Is it all right, sir?" 

** If it isn't, I'm going to try to make it so. I shall 
sleep here to-night, Fanny." 

** And welcome, sir. We haven't a spare bedroom, but 
I can make you up a bed on the sofa in the parlour." 

" I shall not need it. I am going to sleep in Devlin's 
room, on the floor." 



128 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

She caught my arm with a cry of alarm. ** Has he got 
hold of you, too, sir ? The Lord save us ! He's got the 
lot of us in his claws !" 

** Don't be absurd," I said. *' I know what I'm about, 
and Mr. Devlin will find me a match for him. No more 
questions ; do as you are bid. If you have a mattress and 
some bedclothes to spare, bring them up at once." 

** I won't look at him, sir — I won't speak to him ! 
0, how shall I ever forgive myself — how shall I ever 
forgive myself?" 

She threw her apron (which during my absence she had 
put on over her faded black silk dress) over her head, 
and swayed to and fro in the passage, moaning and groaning 
in great distress of mind. 

I pulled the apron from her face, and gave her a good 
shaking by way of corrective. She ceased her moans. 

"I have no patience with you, Fanny," I exclaimed. 
** In heaven's name, what do you want to be forgiven 
for?" 

"For dragging you into this horrible business, sir," 
she said, with a tendency to relapse, which I immediately 
checked by another shaking. ** That — that devil up- 
stairs " 

This time I shook her so soundly that she could not get 
out another word for the chattering of her teeth. 

** No more, Fanny," I said roughly, ** or you will make 
me angry. I know what I am about, and if you don't stop 
instantly and do exactly as I bid you, I'll leave you and your 
Lemon to your fate. Do you hear ?" 

The threat terrified her into calmness. 

**I'll bring up the bed-things, sir,'* she said, with 
bated breath. 

*' And lose no time," I said, as I mounted the stairs. 

" I won't, sir." 

Devlin was smoking when I joined him, and not smoking 
a pipe, but a cigar with a most delicious fragrance. 

" Take one," he said, pushing a cigar-case over to me ; 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 129 

** you will find them good. I manufactured them while you 
were away." 

I bore good-humouredly with his banter, and I took a 
cigar from the case, but did not immediately light it. 

** Sent your letter?" he inquired curtly. 

*^Yes." 

*' And my desk?" 

'*Yes." 

** By Lizzie Melladew's sweetheart ?" 

**Yes." 

''Not by the other?" 

'' No." 

*' Do they live together ?" 

''Yes." 

" Do you know where ?" 

"Yes." 

" Capital!" he said, with the air of a man who had 
been asking important instead of trivial questions. " There 
is a knock at the door — a frightened, feminine knock. 
Enter, my dear Mrs. Lemon, enter." 

Fanny Lemon came in, smothered with a mattress, 
sheets, blankets, and pillows, and, without uttering a word, 
proceeded to make the bed on the floor. 

"You have brought plenty of pillows, Fanny," I re- 
marked. 

" I thought you'd like to lay high, sir," she whispered. 

Devlin broke out into a loud laugh. "Most people 
do," he said, " while they live. When they die they all 
lie low — all of them, all of them !" 

For a moment I thought that Fanny was going to run 
away, but a look from me restrained her, and she finished 
making the bed. 

" Do you wish anything else, sir ?" she asked, still in 
a whisper, and keeping her back to Devlin. 

"Yes, my charming landlady, yes," replied Devlin, 
" A large pot of your exquisite tea. Fly !" 

" Make it, Fanny, and bring it up," I said. 

K ■ 



I30 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 



She flew, and returned with the steaming pot. Surely 
never was tea so quickly prepared before. The pot, milk, 
sugar, and two cups and saucers were on a tray, which, 
without raising her eyes, she placed before me. 

* ' Here, here, ' ' cried Devlin, tapping the table. * ' Before 
me, my dear creature ! I am the host on this occa- 
sion." 

She slid the tray over to him, and he made a motion as 
if he were about to place his hand on her. 

** If you lay a finger on me," she exclaimed, beating 
a hasty retreat from the table, " I'll scream the house 
down !" 

*' Leave the room," I said sternly; ^' and call us at 
seven in the morning." 

*' We shall be here, my dear creature," added Devlin. 
** You will find both of us safe and sound, ready to do 
justice to your excellent cooking. I have a premonition 
of a fine appetite for breakfast ; cook me an extra rasher." 

I saw in Fanny's eyes a desire to say a word to me 
alone. Devlin saw it too. 

*' Humour her," he said, and quoted a line from a 
comedy. *' What is the use of a friend if you can't make 
a stranger of him ?" 

I followed Fanny into the passage. 

** You've quite made up your mind, sir ?" 

^' Quite, Fanny." 

*' Take this, sir," she said, pushing a hard substance 
into my hands. *' If anything happens in the night, 
spring it." 

It was a policeman's rattle. 

** I don't know where Lemon got it from," she said, 
*' but we've had it in the house for years." 

*' Pshaw, Fanny !" I said, forcing the rattle back into 
her hands. ** You are too ridiculous !" 

Yet when I was once again face to face with Devlin, 
with the door locked, I could not help thinking that I was 
acting a perilous part in putting myself, as it were, into 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 131 

his power. He might kill me while I slept. I deter- 
mined to keep awake, and to lie down in my clothes. 

** Have some tea ?" he asked. 

** Thank you," I replied. The tea would assist me in 
my resolve not to sleep. 

The teapot being emptied, I lit the cigar Devlin had 
given me. 

*' I owe you an explanation," he said, puffing the 
smoke from his cigar into a series of circles. ** I take it 
as a fact that Lemon is suffering from some kind of pro- 
phetic vision in connection with the murder of Lizzie Mel- 
ladew in Victoria Park on Friday night." 

** It is so," I said. 

*' Part of my explanation lies in the admission that he 
received that forewarning from me." 

*' Then you knew it was done," I cried. 

** I did not know it. It passed through the mind of 
a customer whose hair I was dressing. I do not call that 
knowing a thing. I am something of a thought-reader, 
my dear sir, and I possess a certain power, under suitable 
conditions, of conveying my impressions to another person. 
That is the extent of my explanation. Excuse me for 
making it so brief." 

Never in my life had I smoked a cigar with a fra- 
grance so exquisite. Not only exquisite, but overpowering. 
It beguiled my senses, and had such an effect upon me 
that the last twenty or thirty words uttered by Devlin 
seemed to be spoken at a great distance from me. This 
sense of distance affected not only his voice, but himself 
and all surrounding things. He and they seemed to re- 
cede into space, as it were, not bounded by the walls of 
the small apartment in which we were sitting. I had a 
dim desire to continue the conversation, and to press 
Devlin to be more explicit, but it died away. Every- 
thing floated in a mist around me, and in this state I fell 



132 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

I PASS A MORNING IN DEVLIN* S PLACE OF BUSINESS. 

Devlin was up and dressed when I awoke in the morn- 
ing. I had not to go through the trouble of putting on 
my clothes, as I had not taken them off on the previous 
night. It would not have surprised me to find that I had 
unconsciously sought repose in the usual way, or that I 
had risen in my sleep to undress ; nothing, indeed, would 
very much have surprised me, so strange had been my 
dreaming fancies. Naturally they all turned upon Devlin 
and the case upon which I was engaged. I could easily 
write a chapter upon them, but I will content myself with 
briefly describing one of the strangest of them all. 

I was sitting in a chair, opposite a mirror, in which I 
saw everything that was passing in the room. Devlin was 
standing over me, dressing my hair. Suddenly I saw a 
sharp surgical instrument in his hand. 

** That is not a razor," I said, *' and I don't want to 
be shaved." 

** My dear sir," remarked Devlin, with excessive polite- 
ness, ** what you want or what you don't want matters 
little." 

With that he made a straight cut across the top of my 
head, and laid bare my brains. I saw them and every little 
cell in them quite distinctly. 

** To think," he observed, as he peered into the cavities, 
* ' that in this small compass should abide the passions, the 
emotions, the meannesses, the noble aspirations, the sordid 
desires, the selfish instincts and the power to resist them, 
the sense of duty, the conscious deceits, the lust for power, 
the grovelling worship, the filthy qualities of animalism, the 
secret promptings, and all the motley mental and moral 
attributes which make a man ! To think that from this 
small compass have sprung all that constitutes man's 
history — religion, ethics, the rise and fall of nations, music, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 133 

poetry, law, and science ! How grand, how noble does 
this man, who represents humankind, think himself ! What 
works he has executed, what marvels discovered ! But if 
the truth were known, he is a mere dabbler, who, out of 
his conceit, magnifies the smallest of molehills into the 
largest of mountains. He can build a bridge, but he cannot 
make a flower that shall bloom to-day and die to-morrow. 
He can destroy, but he cannot create. In the open page 
of Nature he makes the most trivial of discoveries, and he 
straightway writes himself up in letters of gold and builds 
monuments in his honour. The stars mock him ; the 
mountains of snow look loftily down upon the pigmy ; 'the 
gossamer fly which his eyes can scarcely see triumphs over 
his highest efforts. But he has invented for himself a 
supreme shelter for defeat and decay. Dear me, dear me — 
I cannot find it !" 

**What are you looking for?" I asked. "Be kind 
enough to leave my brains alone." For he was industriously 
probing them with some sensitive instrument. 

** I am looking for your grand invention, your soul. I 
am wondrously wise, but I have never yet been able to dis- 
cover its precise locality." 

After some further search he shut up my head, so to 
speak, and my fancies took another direction. 

All these vagaries seemed to be tumbling over each 
other in my brain as I rose from my bed on the floor. 

** Had a good night ?" asked Devlin. 

**If being asleep," I replied, *' means having a good 
night, I have had it. But my head is in a whirl, never- 
theless." 

" Keep it cool if you can," said Devlin, " for what you 
have to go through. You will find water and soap inside." 

He pointed to the little closet adjoining his room, and 
there I found all that was necessary for my toilet. I had 
just finished when Fanny knocked at the door. 

** It's all right, Fanny," I cried. *' You can get break- 
fast ready." 



134 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

** And don't forget," added Devlin, *Hhe extra rasher 
for me. How is dear Lemon ?" 

That she did not reply and was heard beating a hasty 
retreat caused a broad grin to spread over Devlin's face. 

** I have provided," he said, '* for that worthy creature 
something of an entertaining, not to say enthralling, nature, 
which she can dilate upon to the last hour of her life. And 
yet she is not grateful." 

We went down to breakfast, and there I was afforded 
an opportunity of verifying the subtle likeness in Devlin's 
face to the portrait of Lemon on the wall, the evil-looking 
bird in its glass case, and the stone figure, half monster, 
half man, on the mantelshelf. 

** There is a likeness," said Devlin pleasantly, ** be- 
tween my works and me, and if you will attribute me with 
anything human, you can attribute it to a common human 
failing. It springs from the vanity and the weakness of 
man that he can evolve only that which is within himself. 
Nowhere is that vanity and weakness more conspicuous 
than in Genesis, in the very first chapter, my dear sir, 
where man himself has had the audacity to write that 
* God created man in His own image.' My dear Mrs. 
Lemon, you have excelled yourself this morning. This 
rasher is perfect, and your cooking of these eggs to the 
infinitesimal part of a second is a marvel of art." 

Fanny did not open her lips to him, and the meal 
passed on in silence so far as she was concerned. I made 
a good breakfast, and Devlin expressed approval of my 
appetite. 

*'It will strengthen you," he said, ''for what is before 
you." 

Fanny looked up in alarm, and Devlin laughed. I may 
mention that the first thing I did when I came down-stairs 
was to run to the nearest newspaper shop and purchase 
copies of the morning papers. 

"Is there anything new concerning the murder?" 
asked Devlin. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 135 

Fanny waited breathlessly for my reply. 

** Nothing," I said. 

** Have any arrests been made ?" 

'*None." 

''Of course," observed Devlin sarcastically, "the 
police are on the track of the murderer." 

** There is something to that effect in the papers." 

''Fudge !" said Devlin. 

Breakfast over, Devlin said he would go up to his room 
for a few minutes, and bade me be ready when he came 
down. Alone with Fanny, she asked me whether I would 
like to see Lemon, adding that it would do him " a power 
of good." 

*' Is he any better ?" I asked. 

"I really think he is," she replied. "What I told 
him last night about your taking up the case was a com- 
fort to him — though he ain't easy in his mind about you. 
He is afraid that Devlin will get hold of you as he did of 
him." 

" He will not, Fanny. We shall get along famously 
together." 

She shook her head. I failed to convince her, as I 
failed to convince Mr. Lemon, that I should prove a match 
for their lodger. Lemon presented a ludicrous picture, 
sitting up in bed with an old-fashioned nightcap on. 

"Don't go with him, sir," he whispered, "to the 
Twisted Cow." 

"I shall go with him," I said, " wherever he proposes 
to take me." 

I could not help smiling at Lemon's expression of 
melancholy as I made this statement. He dared not give 
utterance to his fears of what my ultimate destination would 
be if I continued to keep company with Devlin. When 
that strange personage came down I was ready for him, and 
we went out together, Fanny looking after us from the 
street-door, shaking, I well knew, in her inward soul. 

Devlin made himself exceedingly pleasant, and the 



136 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

comments he passed on the people we met excited my 
admiration and increased my wonder. He seemed to be 
able to read their characters in their faces, and although 
I would have liked to combat his views I did not venture 
to oppose my judgment to his. What struck me particu- 
larly was that he saw the evil in men, not the good. Not 
once did he give man or woman credit for the possession 
of good qualities. All was mean, sordid, grasping, and 
selfish. He told me that we should have to walk four miles 
to his place of business. 

*'I enjoy walking," he said, ''and the only riding I 
care for is on the top of an omnibus through squalid 
streets. You get peeps into garrets and one-room habi- 
tations. Gifted with the power of observation, you can 
see rare pictures there." 

On our road I stopped at a post-office, and sent a tele- 
gram of three words to my wife : *' All is well." 

Our course lay in the direction of Westminster. We 
crossed the bridge, and turned down a narrow street. 
Chapel Street. Half-way down the street Devlin paused, 
and said, 

*' Behold our establishment." 

It was a poor and common house, and had it not been 
for a barber's pole sticking out from the doorway, and a 
fly-blown cardboard in the parlour window, on which was 
written, ** Barber and Hairdresser. All styles. Lowest 
charges," I should not have supposed that a trade was 
carried on therein. As we entered the passage a woman 
came forward and handed Devlin a key. He thanked her, 
unlocked the parlour door, and we went in. 

The fittings in this room, which I saw at a glance was 
the shop in which the shaving and hair - dressing were 
done, were entirely out of keeping with the poor tenement 
in which it was situated. The walls were lined with fine 
mirrors ; there were three luxurious barber's chairs ; the 
washstands were of marble ; and the appliances for sham- 
pooing perfect. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 137 

** You would hardly expect it," observed Devlin. 

*' I would not," I replied. 

"It is my idea," he said. *'It rivals the West End 
establishments, and for skill I would challenge the world, 
if I were desirous of courting publicity. Then, the charges. 
One-sixth those of Truefit. I shave for a penny, cut for 
another penny, shampoo for another. But only those can 
be attended to who hold my tickets. I was compelled to 
adopt this plan, otherwise I should have been overwhelmed 
with customers. It enables me to choose them. When I 
see a likely man, one who is ripe, and in whom I discern 
possibilities which commend themselves to me, I say, 
* Oblige me, sir, by accepting this ticket of admission;' and 
having given him a taste of my skill, he comes again. I 
have quite a connection." He accompanied these last 
words with a strange smile. 

** What part do you propose to assign to me in the 
business ?" I asked. 

** A part to which you will not object, that of looker-on. 
Not from this room, but that" — pointing to the back room. 
** The panels of the door, you will observe, are of ground 
glass. Sitting within there, you can see all that passes in 
this room without being yourself seen. If you will keep 
quiet, no one will suspect that you are in hiding." 

**For the life of me," I said, *'I cannot guess what 
good my sitting in there will do." 

** I do not suppose you can ; but learn from me that I 
do nothing without a motive. I do not care to be ques- 
tioned too closely. The promise I have made to you will 
be kept if you do not thwart it. You may see something 
that will surprise you. I say * may,' because I have not 
the power to entirely rule men's movements. But I think 
it almost certain he will pay me a visit this morning." 

**He?" I cried. *'Who?" 

** The man whose thoughts I read on Friday with 
respect to the girl who was murdered on that night." 

I started. If Devlin spoke the truth, and if the man 



138 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

came to his shop this morning, I should be in possession of 
a practical clue which would lead me to the goal I wished 
to reach. 

*'He comes regularly," continued Devlin, *^on Mon- 
days, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This is his day." 

** Do you know his name ?" I inquired, in great excite- 
ment. 

** I did not," replied Devlin, *' the last time I saw him. 
How should I know it now ?" 

** Nor where he lives ?" 

*' Nor where he lives." 

" I must obey you, I suppose," I said. 

" It will be advisable, and you must obey me implicitly. 
Deviate by a hair's breadth from what I require of you, 
and I withdraw my promise, which now exists in full in- 
tegrity. Decide." 

** I have decided. I will remain in that room." 

'* There is another point upon which I must insist 
positively. From that room you do not stir until I bid you ; 
in that room you do not speak unless you receive a cue from 
me. Agreed?" 

** Agreed." 

" On your honour ?" 

'* On my honour." 

** Good. Now you can retire. You will find books in 
there to amuse you if you get wearied with your watch." 

He opened the door for me, and closed it upon me. 
He had spoken correctly. Through the ground glass I could 
see everything in the shop, and I took his word for it that 
I could not myself be seen. 

Scarcely had a minute passed before a customer entered. 
Devlin, who, while he was arguing with me, had taken off 
his coat, and put on a linen jacket of spotless white, be- 
haved most decorously. His manner was deferential without 
being subservient, respectful without being familiar. The 
man was shaved by Devlin, and then his head was brushed 
by machinery, which I had forgotten to mention was fixed 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 139 

in the shop. There was a caressing motion about Devlin's 
shapely hands which could not but be agreeable to those 
who sought his tonsorial aid, and his conversation, judging 
from the expression on his customer's face, must bave been 
amusing and entertaining. The customer took his departure, 
and another, appearing as he went out, was duly attended 
to. This went on until eleven o'clock by my watch, and 
nothing had occurred of especial interest to me. Devlin 
was kept pretty busy ; but, although his time was fully 
employed, the business at such prices could not have been 
remunerative, especially when it was considered that the 
fitting up of the shop must have cost a pretty sum of money, 
and that the profits of the concern had to be divided be- 
tween two persons, Mr. Lemon and himself. It was not 
till past eleven that my attention was more than ordinarily 
attracted by Devlin's behaviour, the difierence in which 
perhaps no one except myself would have particularly no- 
ticed. A man of the middle class entered and took his seat. 
He wore a beard and moustache; and although I could not 
hear what he said, he spoke in so low a tone, I judged 
correctly that he instructed Devlin to shave his face bare. 
Devlin proceeded to obey him, and clipped and cut, and 
finally applied his razor until not a vestige of hair was left 
on the man's face. That being done, Devlin cut this cus- 
tomer's hair close, and then used his brushes ; and as his 
hands moved about the man's head there was, if I may so 
describe it, a feline, insinuating expression in them which 
aroused my curiosity. I thought of the singular dream I have 
described, and it appeared to me that all the while Devlin was 
employed over his customer the brains of the man sitting so 
quietly in the chair were figuratively exposed to his view, 
and that he was reading the thoughts which stirred therein. 
When the man was gone there was a peculiar smile upon 
Devlin's face, and I observed that he laughed quietly to 
himself. There happened to be no one in the shop to claim 
Devlin's attention, and I, who was impatiently waiting for 
some sign from Devlin pertinent to the secret purpose to 



140 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

which both he and I were pledged, expected it to be given 
now ; for the circumstance of the man having been shaved 
bare — which so altered his appearance that I should not 
otherwise have known that the person who entered the shop 
was the same person who left it — was to me so supicious 
that in my anxiety and agitation I connected it with the 
murder of poor Lizzie Melladew, arguing that the man had 
effected this disguise in himself for the purpose of escaping 
detection. But Devlin made no sign, and did not even look 
towards the glass-door. Other customers coming in, Devlin 
was busy again. Twelve o'clock — half-past twelve — one 
o'clock — and still no indication of anything in connection 
with my task. With a feeling of intense disappointment, 
and beginning to doubt whether I had not allowed myself 
to be duped, I replaced my watch in my pocket, and had 
scarcely done so before my heart was beating violently at 
the appearance of a gentleman whom I little expected to see 
in Devlin's shop. This gentleman was no other than Mr. 
Kenneth Dowsett, George Carton's guardian. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

MR. KENNETH DOWSETT GIVES ME THE SLIP. 

The beating of my heart became normal ; I suppose it 
was the sudden appearance of a gentleman with whose face 
I was familiar, after many hours of suspense, that had 
caused its pulsations to become so rapid and violent. There 
was nothing surprising, after all, in the presence of Mr. 
Dowsett in Devlin's shop. His address was in Westmin- 
ster, Devlin was an exceptionally fine workman, the accom- 
modation was luxurious, the charges low. Even I, in my 
position in life, would be tempted to deal occasionally with 
so expert and perfect a barber as Devlin, at the prices he 
charged. Then, why not Mr. Kenneth Dowsett ? Besides, 
he might be of a frugal turn. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 141 

Devlin was not long engaged over him. Mr. Dowsett 
was shaved; Mr. Dowsett had his hair hrushed hy 
machinery ; Mr. Dowsett, moreover, was very particular as 
to the arrangement of his hair ; and Devlin, I saw, did his 
best to please him. But so deft and facile was Devlin that 
he did not dally with Mr. Dowsett for longer than five or 
six minutes. Mr. Dowsett rose, paid Devlin, exchanged a 
few smiling words with him, and taking a final look at him- 
self in the mirrors, turning himself this way and that, 
walked out of the shop. Evidently Mr. Dowsett was a very 
vain man. 

No sooner was he gone than DevKn locked the shop- 
door from within, whipped oiBf his linen jacket, and opened 
the door of the room in which I was sitting. I came for- 
ward in no amiable mood. 

** You are wearied with your long enforced rest," said 
Devlin. 

" I am wearied and disgusted," I retorted. ** I expected 
a clue." 

*' Have you not received it ?" asked Devlin, smil- 
ing. 

** Keceived it !" I echoed. " How ? Where ?" 

*' You have seen my customers, and all that has passed 
between me and them." 

**Well?" 

** Well?" he said, mocking me. ** Is there not one 
among them upon whom your suspicions are fixed ? Is 
there not one among them who could, if he chose, supply 
us with a starting-point ? I say * us,' because we are 
comrades." 

" Fool, fool, that I was !" I exclaimed, involuntarily 
raisiug my hand to my forehead. ** Why did I allow him 
to escape ?" 

" Why did you let whom escape you ?" asked Devlin, 
in a bantering tone. 

*' The man whose beard and moustache you shaved off 
He must have a reason, a vital reason, for effecting thig 



142 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

disguise in himself. And I have let him slip through my 
fingers !" 

*' He has a vital reason for so disguising himself," said 
Devlin, **but it has no connection with the murder of 
Lizzie Melladew." 

*' Then what do you mean?" I cried, '' by asking me 
whether I have not received a clue ?" 

*' Was your attention attracted to no other of my cus- 
tomers than this man ?" 

** There was only one who was known to me — Mr, 
Kenneth Dowsett." 

« Ah !" said Devlin. " Mr. Kenneth Dowsett." 

A light seemed to dawn suddenly upon me, but the 
suggestion conveyed in Devlin's significant tone so amazed 
me that I could not receive it unquestioningly. 

** Do you mean to tell me," I cried, ** that you suspect 
Mr. Dowsett of complicity in this frightful murder ?" 

** I mean to tell you nothing of my suspicions," replied 
Devlin. ** It is for you, not for me, to suspect. It is for 
you, not for me, to draw conclusions. What I know posi- 
tively of Mr. Dowsett — with whose name I was unac- 
quainted until last evening, when you mentioned it in 
Lemon's house — I will tell you, if you wish." 

** Tell me, then." 

"It is short but pregnant. Through Mr. Kenneth 
Dowsett's mind, as I shaved him and dressed his hair on 
Friday last, passed the picture of a beautiful girl, with 
golden hair, wearing a bunch of white daisies in her belt. 
Through his mind passed a picture of a lake of still water 
in Victoria Park. Through his mind passed a vision of 
blood." 

** Are you a devil," I exclaimed, **that you did not 
step in to prevent the deed ?" 

" My dear sir," he said, seizing my arm, which I had 
involuntarily raised, and holding it as in a vice, * * you are 
unreasonable. I have never in my life been in Victoria 
Park, which, I believe, covers a large space of ground. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 143 

Why should I elect to pass an intensely uncomfortable 
night, wandering about paths in an unknown place, to 
interfere in I know not what ? Even were I an interested 
party, it would be an act of folly, for such a proceeding 
would lay me open to suspicion. A nice task you would 
allot to me when you tacitly declare that it should be my 
mission to prevent the commission of human crime ! Then 
how was I to gauge the precise value of Mr. Dowsett's 
thoughts ? He might be a dramatist, inventing a sensa- 
tional plot for a popular theatre ; he might be an author of 
exciting fiction. Give over your absurdities, and school 
yourself into calmer methods. Unless you do so, you 
will have small chance of unravelling this mystery. And 
consider, my dear sir," he added, making me a mocking 
bow, " if I am a devil, how honoured you should be 
that I accept you as my comrade !" 

The tone in which he spoke was calm and measured ; 
indeed, it had not escaped my observation that, whether he 
was inclined to be malignant or agreeable, insinuating or 
threatening, he never raised his voice above a certain pitch. 
I inwardly acknowledged the wisdom of his counsel that I 
should keep my passion in control, and I resolved from that 
moment to follow it. 

"You locked the shop-door," I said, "when Mr. 
Dowsett left you just now." 

" I did," was his response, " thinking it would be your 
wish that I should do no more business to-day." 

" Why should you think that ?" 

"Because of what was passing through Mr. Dowsett's 
mind." 

" I ask you to pardon me for my display of passion. 
What was Mr. Dowsett thinking of?" 

" Of two very simple matters," said Devlin ; " the time 
of day and an address. The time was fifteen minutes past 
three, the address, 28 Athelstan Road." 

" Nothing more ?" I inquired, much puzzled. 

" Nothing more." 



144 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

I pondered a moment; I could draw no immediate con- 
clusion from material so bare. I asked Devlin what he 
could make of it ; he replied, politely, that it was for me, 
not for him, to make what I could of it. A suggestion 
presented itself. 

*' At fifteen minutes past three," I said, *' Mr. Dowsett 
has an appointment with' some person at 28 Athelstan Eoad." 

*' Possibly," said Devlin. 

** Have you a ' London Directory ' ?" 

** I have not ; nor, I imagine, will you easily find one 
in this neighbourhood." 

**A simpler plan," I said, *' perhaps will be to go to 
Mr. Dowsett's house, to which he has most likely returned, 
and set watch there for him, keeping ourselves well out of 
sight. It is now twenty minutes past one ; we can reach 
his house in ten minutes. He will hardly leave it for his 
appointment till two, or a little past. We will follow him 
secretly, and ascertain whom he is going to see, and his 
purpose. I am determined now to adopt bold measures. 
Behind this frightful mystery there is another, which shall 
be brought to light. You will accompany me ?" 

** I am at your orders," said Devlin. 

We left the house together, and in the time I specified 
were within a few yards of Mr. Dowsett's residence. Aware 
of the importance of not attracting attention, I looked 
about for a means of escaping observation. Nearly opposite 
Mr. Dowsett's dwelling was a public-house, in the first- 
floor window of which I saw a placard, *' Billiards. Pool." 
I concluded that it was the window of a billiard-room, and 
without hesitation I entered the public-house, followed by 
Devlin, and mounted the stairs. The room, as I supposed, 
contained a billiard-table ; the marker, a very pale and 
very thin youth, was practising the spot stroke. 

*' Billiards, sir?" he asked, as we entered. 

*' Yes," I said, ^' w^e wish to play a private game. How 
much an hour?" 

" Eighteenpence." 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 145 

" Here are five shillings," I said, '* for a couple of hours. 
We shall not want you to mark. Don't let us be dis- 
turbed." 

The pale thin youth took the money, laid down his cue, 
and left us to ourselves. When he was gone I placed a 
chair at an angle against the handle of the door, there 
being no key in the lock, and thus prevented the entrance 
of any person without notice. It was the leisure time of 
the day, and there was little fear of our being disturbed. 
The extra gratuity I had given to the marker would insure 
privacy. As I took my station at the window, from which 
Mr. Dowsett's house was in full view, Devlin nodded 
approval of my proceedings. 

**You are a man of resource," he said. *' I perceive 
that you intend henceforth to act sensibly." 

Minute after minute passed, and there was no sign of 
any person leaving or entering Mr. Dowsett's house. Every 
now and then I consulted my watch. Two o'clock — a 
quarter-past two — half-past. I began to grow impatient, 
but, to please Devlin, did not exhibit it. Perfect silence 
reigned between us ; we exchanged not a word. 

Time waned, and now I more frequently looked at my 
watch, the hands of which were drawing on to three. They 
reached the hour and passed it. A quarter-past three. 

Perplexed and disappointed, I debated on my next move. 
I soon decided what it should be. I had promised Kichard 
Carton that I would call upon him. I would do so now. 
If Mr. Dowsett was at home, all the better. 

I made Devlin acquainted with my resolve, and he said, 

** Very good ; I will go with you.'* 

Kemoving the chair I had placed against the handle of 
the door, we went from the public-house and crossed the 
road. I knocked at Mr. Dowsett's door, and a maid- ser- 
vant answered the summons. 

*' Does Mr. Kenneth Dowsett live here ?" 

*'Yes, sir." 

**Is he at home?" 

L 



146 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

*'No, sir." 

** Is Mr. Eichard Carton in ?" 

*' Yes, sir." 

" Give him my card, and say I wish to see him." 

** Will you please walk this way, sir ?" said the maid- 
servant. 

She ushered us into the dining-room, where she left us 
alone while she went to apprise Eichard Carton of my 
visit. The room was exceedingly well furnished. Good 
pictures were on the walls, and there was a tasteful arrange- 
ment of bric-a-brac and bronzes. I had no time for further 
observation, the entrance of Eichard Carton claiming my 
attention. 

** Ah !" he exclaimed, *' you have come. I was begin- 
ning to be afraid you would disappoint me." 

'* You delivered my letter to my wife ?" I asked. 

** Yes, and the desk. My guardian wanted to persuade 
me to leave it till this morning, but I would not." 

** You were quite right." 

He looked towards Devlin. 

**A friend," I said, waving my hand as a kind of 
introduction, "who may be of assistance to us." 

''But introduce us plainly," expostulated Devlin. 

*' Mr. Devlin," I said, '' Mr. Eichard Carton." 

They shook hands, and then Carton inquired whether I 
had anything to tell him. 

** Nothing tangible," I replied, *' but we are on the 
road." 

*' Yes," repeated Devlin, *'we are on the road." 

** Excuse me for asking," said Carton to Devlin, *'but 
are you a detective ?" 

**In a spiritual way," said Devlin. 

Carton's mind was too deeply occupied with the one 
supreme subject of the murder to ask for an explanation 
of this enigmatical reply. He turned towards me. 

*' Is your guardian in ?" I inquired. 

**No," said Carton, 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 147 

What should I say next ? It would have heen folly to 
make Kichard Carton a participant in the strange revela- 
tions which were directing my proceedings. 

*' Can you tell me," I asked, ** where Athelstan Road 
is?" 

**It is in Margate," he replied, in a tone of surprise, 
*' and the number is 28." 

It was my turn now to exhibit surprise. **No. 28 !" 
I exclaimed. ** Who lives there ?" 

''I don't know. Mrs. Dowsett and Letitia went to 
Margate by an early train on Saturday morning, before I 
was awake, and my guardian has gone there to see them. 
I should have proposed to go with him had it not been for 
my determination not to leave London till this dreadful 
mystery was cleared up ; and then there was the promise 
you made me give you last night, that I should remain 
here all the day till you came to see me." 

*' When did your guardian go to Margate ?" I asked. 

**He has gone from Victoria," replied Carton, glanc- 
ing at a marble clock on the mantelshelf, ** by the Gran- 
ville train. It starts at fiteen minutes past three." 

I also glanced at the clock. It was just half -past 
three, a quarter of an hour past the time ! 



CHAPTER XXV. 

WE FOLLOW IN PURSUIT. 

Carton, noticing my discomposure, inquired if there was 
anything wrong. I answered, yes ; I was afraid there was 
something very wrong. 

**In connection with the fate of my poor girl?" he 
asked. 

**Yes," I replied, '*in connection with her fate." 

''Great heavens!" he cried. **You surely do not 
suspect that my^ardian is mixed up with it ?" 



148 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

'* I am of the opinion," I answered guardedly, *' that he 
may he able to throw some light on it Mr. Carton, ask 
me no further questions, or you may seriously hamper me. 
Have you a time-table in the house ? No ? Then we must 
obtain one immediately. It is my purpose to follow your 
guardian to Margate by the quickest and earliest train. I 
give you five minutes to get ready." 

Greatly excited, he darted from the room, and in half 
the time I had named returned, with a small bag, into 
which he had thrust a few articles of clothing. During his 
absence I said to Devlin, 

** You will accompany us ?" 

*' My dear sir," he replied, ** I will go with you to the 
ends of the earth. I shall greatly enjoy this pursuit ; the 
vigour and spirit you are putting into it are worthy of the 
highest admiration." 

We three went out together, and at the first book- shop 
I purchased an ''AB C," and ascertained that the next best 
train to Margate was the 5.15 from Victoria, which was 
timed to arrive at 7.31. Calculating that it would be a few 
minutes late, we could, no doubt, reach Athelstan Road at 
half-past eight. I had time to run home to my wife, and 
embrace her and my children ; it was necessary, also, that 
I should furnish myself with funds, there being very little 
money in my purse, and I determined to use the one 
hundred pounds which Mr. Portland had left with me. 
Employed as I was, the use of this money was justifiable. 
Hailing a hansom, we jumped into it. Carton sitting on 
Devlin's knee, and we soon reached my house. In as few 
words as possible I explained to my wife all that was 
necessary, kissed her and the children, took possession of 
the hundred pounds and of a light bag in which my wife 
had put a change of clothing, left a private message for 
Mr. Portland, and rejoined Devlin and Carton, who were 
waiting for me in the hansom. I asked my wife but two 
questions — the first, how Mr. and Mrs. Melladew were, the 
fcecond, whether anything had been heard -of the missing 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 149 

daughter Mary. She told me that the unhappy parents 
were completely prostrated by the blow, and that no news 
whatever had been heard of Mary. 

We arrived at Victoria Station in good time, and, by the 
aid of a judicious tip, I secured a first-class compartment, 
into which the guard assured me no one should be admitted. 
I had a distinct reason for desiring this privacy. There were 
subjects upon which I wished to talk with Kichard Carton, 
and I could not carry on the conversation in the presence 
of strangers. I said nothing to him of this in the cab, the 
noise of the wheels making conversation difficult. We 
should be two hours and a half getting to Margate, and on 
the journey I could obtain all the information I desired. 
We started promptly to the minute, and then I requested 
Carton to give me his best attention. He and I sat next 
to each other, Devlin sitting in the opposite corner. He 
threw himself back, and closed his eyes, but I knew that 
he heard every word that passed between me and Car- 
ton. 

*'I am going to ask you a series of questions," I said 
to the young man, *'not one of which shall be asked from 
idle curiosity. Answer me as directly to the point as you 
can. Explain how it is that Mr. Kenneth Dowsett is your 
guardian." 

^*I lost both my parents," replied Carton, ''when I 
was very young. Of my mother I have no remembrance 
whatever ; of my father, but little. He and Mr. Dowsett 
were upon the most intimate terms of friendship ; my father 
had such confidence in him that when he drew his will 
he named Mr. Dowsett as his executor and my guardian. I 
was to live with him and his wife, and he was to see to my 
education. He has faithfully fulfilled the trust my father 
reposed in him." 

*' Did your father leave a large fortune ?" 

'* Roughly speaking, I am worth two thousand pounds 
a year." 

**Mr. Dowsett, having to receive you in his house as a 



I50 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

son and to look after your education, doubtless was in receipt 
of a fair consideration for his services ?" 

** 0, yes. Until I was twenty-one years of age he 
was to draw six hundred pounds a year out of the funds 
invested for me. The balance accumulated for my benefit 
until I came of age." 

" He drew this money regularly ?" 

** Yes, as he was entitled to do." 

*' How old are you now ?" 

*' Twenty-four." 

*' You are living still with Mr. Dowsett, and you still 
regard him as your guardian?" 

'' I have a great affection for him ; he has treated me 
most kindly." 

** What do you pay him for your board and lodging ?" 

** He continues to receive the six hundred a year. It is 
all he has to depend on." 

**Was this last arrangement of his own proposing, or 
yours ?" 

'* Of mine. I cannot sufficiently repay him for his care 
of me." 

**In your father's will what was to become of your 
fortune in the event of your death ?" 

** If I died before I came of age, my guardian was to 
have the six hundred a year, and the rest was to be given 
to various charities." 

*' And after you came of age ?" 

** It was mine absolutely, to do as I pleased with." 

** Have you made a wiU ?" 

*'Yes." 

** Who proposed that?" 

*' My guardian." 

** What are the terms of this will ?" 

** I have left everything to him. I have no relatives, 
and no other claims upon me." 

*' When I came to see you this afternoon you mentioned 
a name which was new to me. You said that your guardian 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 151 

had gone to Margate with his wife and * Letitia.' I supposed 
he was married, and your speaking of Mrs. Dowsett did not 
surprise me. But who is Letitia ?" 

** Their daughter." 

** An only child?" 

**Yes." 

*'What isher age?" 

*' Twenty-two." 

** Has she a sweetheart? Is she engaged to be 
married ?" 

*'No." 

" That answer seems to me to be given with con- 
straint." 

** Well," said Carton, *' it is hardly right, is it, to go 
so minutely into my guardian's private family affairs ?" 

"It is entirely right. I am engaged upon a very 
solemn task, and I can see, probably, what is hidden from 
you. Why were you partly disinclined to answer my last 
question ?" 

*' It is a little awkward," replied Carton, ** because, 
perhaps, I am not quite free from blame." 

** Explain your meaning. Believe me, this may be more 
serious than you imagine. Speak frankly. I am acting, 
indeed, as your true friend." 

'* Yet, after all," said Carton, with hesitation, ** I never 
made love to her, I give you my honour." 

** Made love to whom ? Miss Dowsett ?" 

**Yes. The fact is they looked upon it as a settled 
thing that I was to marry Letitia. I did not know it at the 
time ; no, though we were living in the same house for so 
many years, I never suspected it. I always looked upon 
Letitia as a sister, and I behaved affectionately towards her. 
They must have put a wrong construction upon it. When 
they discovered that I was in love with my poor Lizzie, Mr. 
Dowsett said to me, * It will break Letitia's heart.' Then 
I began to understand, and I assure you I felt remorseful. 
Letitia did not say anything to me, but I could see by her 



152 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

looks how deeply she was wounded. Once my guardian 
made the remark, * That if I had not met the young lady ' 
— meaning Lizzie — * his most joyful hope would have heen 
realised,' meaning by that that when I saw that Letitia loved 
me I might have grown to love her, and we should have been 
married. I said, I remember, that it might have been, for 
he seemed to expect something like that from me, and I said 
it to console him. But it was not true ; I could never have 
loved Letitia except as a sister." 

'* .Did your guardian know the name of the poor girl 
you have lost ?" 

*' 0, yes. He met us first when we were walking toge- 
ther, and I introduced him. We had almost a quarrel, my 
guardian and I, some time afterwards. He said that Miss 
Melladew was beneath me, and that it would be better if I 
married in my own station in life. I was hurt and angry, 
and I begged him to retract his words. Beneath me ! She 
was as far above me as the highest lady in the land could 
have been. She was the best, the brightest, the purest girl 
in the world. And I have lost her ! I have lost her ! What 
hope is there left to me now ?" 

He covered his face with his hands, and I waited till he 
was calm before I spoke again. 

** In my hearing," I then said, *'you have twice made 
a remark which struck me as strange. It was to the effect 
that you would not allow your guardian to give you any 
more opiates." 

*'He gave me one last Friday night before I went to 
bed — on the night my poor Lizzie was killed. I was excited, 
because I think I told you, sir, that it was decided between 
Lizzie and me that I should go to her father's house on 
Sunday, to ask permission to pay my addresses openly to 
her. Till then I was not to see her again, and that made 
me restless. My guardian was anxious about me, though 
he did not know the cause of my restlessness and excite- 
ment. To please him I took the opiate, and slept soundly 
till late in the morning ; and when I woke, sir — when I 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 153 

woke and went out to buy a present for Lizzie, which I 
intended to take to Lizzie on Sunday, almost the first thing 
I heard " 

He quite broke down here, and a considerable time 
elapsed before he was sufficiently recovered to continue the 
conversation. 

** Supposing," I said, ''that this dreadful event had 
not occurred, and that you and poor Lizzie had been happily 
married, would you have continued to give your guardian 
the income he had enjoyed so long ?" 

*' I do not know — I cannot say. Perhaps not ; although 
I never considered the question. But on the day that I left 
his house for the home I dreamt and hoped would be mine, 
the home in which Lizzie and I would have lived happily 
together. I should have given him something handsome, 
and I am sure I should always have been his friend. I 
ought not, perhaps, now that we have gone so far, to con- 
ceal anything from you." 

*' Indeed you ought not. Tell me everything; it may 
help me." 

*'I am sure," said the young fellow, with deep feeling, 
*'that he did not mean it, and that he said it only to com- 
fort me. But it made me mad. He hinted that my poor 
Lizzie could not h&ve been true to me, that she must have 
had another lover, whom she was in the habit of meeting 
late at night. If any other man had dared to say as much 
I would have killed him. But my guardian meant no harm, 
and when he saw how he had wounded me, he begged my 
pardon humbly. I am sure, I am sure he repented that he 
had breathed a suspicion against my poor girl !" 

** Pardon me," I said, ''for asking you a question 
which, in any other circumstances, would not cross my lips ; 
but it will be as well for mo to put it to you. You yourself 
had no appointment with her on that night ?" 

*' No," cried Carton indignantly, ** as Heaven is my 
judge ! I never met her, I never proposed to meet her, at 
such an hour!" 



154 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

'^ I am certain of it. And yet — receive this calmly, if you 

can — and yet she must have gone out late on that night for 

some purpose or other." 

*^ There is the mystery," said Carton mournfully, *^ and 

I have thought and thought about it without being able 

to find a key to it. There must have been a trap set for 

her — a devilish trap to ensnare her." 

** I think so myself. Otherwise it is not likely she 

would have left her home, as she must have done, secretly. 

Now, a word or two about Mrs. Dowsett and Letitia. 

When you woke up on Saturday morning you found that 

they had gone to Margate ?" 
'' Yes." 

'* Did you know on the day before that they were going?" 
'* No, nothing was said about it. It was quite sudden." 
*' Was Mrs. Dowsett or her daughter ill? Did they 

go into the country for their health ?" 
*' Not to my knowledge." 

*' Were they in the habit of going away suddenly ?" 
** 0, no ; they had never done so before." 
*' What explanation did your guardian give ?" 
" He said that Letitia had been sufi'ering in secret for 

some time, and that her mother thought a change would 

do her good." 

''Did he tell you where they had gone to ?" 

"No, he did not mention the place. I learnt it from 

one of the servants." 

*' So that afterwards he was forced to be frank with 

you ?" 

** I don't understand you." 

*' Reflect. When you rose on Saturday morning you 

found that Mrs. Dowsett and her daughter had gone away 

suddenly. You knew nothing at that moment of poor 

Lizzie's death, and therefore had nothing to trouble you. 

Did it not strike you as strange that your guardian did not 

mention the part of the country they had gone to ? Or 

if, your mind being greatly occupied with the arranged inter- 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 155 

view with Mr. and Mrs. Melladew on the following day, you 
did not then think it strange that your guardian said nothing 
of Margate — do you not think so now ?" 

*' Yes," answered Carton thoughtfully, **I do think so 
now." 

*'How did you learn that Mrs. Dowsettwas stopping at 
28 Athelstan Road ?" 

**By accident. My guardian opened a letter this 
morning, and a piece of paper dropped from it. I picked it 
up, and as I gave it to him I saw 28 Athelstan Road 
written on it * Is that where Mrs. Dowsett and Letitia are 
stopping ?' I asked ; and he answered, * Yes.' " 

" So that it was not directly through him that you 
learnt the address ?" 

** No ; but I don't see that it is of any importance." 

It was not my cue to enter into an argument, therefore 
I did not reply to this remark. I had gained from Carton 
information which, lightly as he regarded it, I deemed of 
the highest importance. There was, however, still some- 
thing more which I desired to speak of, but which I scarcely 
knew how to approach. After a little reflection I made a 
bold plunge. 

*' Is your fortune under your own control ?" 

'* Yes." 

** Do you keep a large balance at your bank ?" 

" Pretty fair; but just now it does not amount to much. 
Still, if you want any " 

" I do not want any. Am I right in conjecturing that 
there is a special reason for your balance being small just 
now ?" 

" There is a special reason. On Saturday morning, 
before I left home, I drew a large cheque " 

** Which you gave to your guardian." 

" How do you know that ?" asked Carton, in a tone of 
surprise. 

** It was but a guess. What was the amount of the 
cheque ?" 



IS6 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

" Two thousand pounds." 

** Payable to * order ' or ' bearer '?" 

** To * bearer.' It was for two investments which Mr. 
Dowsett recommended. That was the reason for the cheque 
being made payable to * bearer, ' to enable my guardian to 
pay it to two different firms. He said both the invest- 
ments would turn out splendidly, but it matters very little 
to me now whether they do or not. All the money in the 
world will not bring happiness to me now that my poor 
Lizzie is dead." 

** Do you know whether your guardian cashed the 
cheque ?" 

*' I do not ; I haven't asked him anything about it. I 
could think only of one thing." 

**I can well imagine it. Thank you for answering my 
questions so clearly. By and by you may know why I 
asked them." 

These words had hardly passed my lips before Devlin, 
Carton, and I were thrown violently against each other. 
The shock was great, but fortunately we were not hurt. 
Screams of pain from adjoining carriages proclaimed that 
this was not the case with other passengers. The train 
was dragged with erratic force for a considerable distance, 
and then came to a sudden standstill. 

" We had best get out," said Devlin, who was the first 
to recover. 

We followed the sensible advice, and, upon emerging 
from the carriage, discovered that other carriages were over- 
turned, and that the line was blocked. Happily, despite the 
screams of the frightened passengers, the injuries they had 
met with were slight, and when all were saifely got out we 
stood along the line, gazing helplessly at each other. Dev- 
lin, however, was an exception ; he was the only perfectly 
composed person amongst us. 

**It is unfortunate," he said, with a certain malicious- 
ness in his voice ; ** we are not half-way to Margate. The 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 157 

best laid schemes are liable to come to grief. If Mr. Ken- 
neth Dowsett knew of this, he would rejoice." 

It was with intense anxiety that I made inquiries of the 
guard whether the accident would delay us long. The guard 
answered that he could not say yet, but that to all appear- 
ance we should be delayed two or three hours. I received 
this information with dismay. It would upon that calcula- 
tion be midnight before we reached our destination. I 
considered time so precious that I would have given every 
shilling in my pocket to have been at that moment in 
Margate. 

** Take it philosophically," said Devlin, at my elbow, 
*' and be thankful that your bones are not broken. It will 
but prolong the hunt, which, I promise you, shall in the end 
be -successful." 

I looked at him almost gratefully for this speculative 
crumb of comfort, and there was real humour in the smile 
with which he met my gaze. 

'* Behold me in another character," he said; *' Devlin 
the Consoler. But you have laid me under an obligation, 
my dear sir, which I am endeavouring to repay. Your con- 
versation with that unhappy young man " — pointing to Car- 
ton, who stood at a little distance from us — ** was truly 
interesting. You have mistaken your vocation ; you would 
have made a first-class detective." 

To add to the discomfiture of the situation it began to 
rain heavily. I felt it would be foolish, and a waste of 
power, to fret and fume, and I therefore endeavoured to 
profit by Devlin's advice to take it philosophically. A num- 
ber of men were now at work setting things straight. They 
worked with a will, but the guard's prognostication proved 
correct. It was nearly eleven o'clock before we started again, 
and past midnight when we arrived at Margate. It was 
pitch dark, and the furious wind drove the pelting rain into 
our faces. 

" A wild night at sea," cried Devlin, with a kind of 
exultation in his voice (though this may have been my 



158 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

fancy) ; he had to speak very loud to make himself heard. 
** You can do nothing till the morning, and very little then 
if the storm lasts. Do you know Margate at all ?" 

**No," I shouted despondently. 

'*Do you?" asked Devlin, addressing Carton. 

** I've never heen here before," replied Carton. 

** There's a decent hotel not far off," said Devlin : ** the 
Nayland Kock. We'll knock them up, and get beds there. 
Cling tight to me if you don't want your bones broken. 
Steady now, steady !" 

We had to cling tightly to him, for we could not see 
a yard before us. Devlin pulled us along, singing some 
strange wild song at the top of his voice. We were a long 
time making those in the hotel hear us, but the door was 
opened at last, and we were admitted. There was only 
one vacant room in the hotel, but fortunately it contained 
two beds. To this room we were conducted, and then 
came the question of settling three persons in the two beds. 
Devlin solved the difficulty by pulling the counterpanes off, 
and extending himself full length upon the floor. 

** This will do for me," he said, wrapping himself up 
in the counterpanes. ** I've had worse accommodation in 
my travels through the world. I've slept in the bush, with 
the sky for a roof; I've slept in the hollow of a tree, with 
wild beasts howling round me ; I've slept on billiard-tables 
and under them, with a thousand rats running over me 
and a score of other wanderers. Good-night, comrades." 

Anxiety did not keep me awake ; I was tired out, and 
slept well. When we arose in the morning all signs of 
the storm had fled. The sun was shining brightly, and a 
soft warm air flowed through the open window. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 159 

CHAPTER XXYI. 

ANOTHER STRANGE AND UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY. 

The first thing to be done, after partaking of a hurried 
breakfast, was to arrange our programme. Carton sug- 
gested that we should all go together to Athelstan Road to 
see his guardian, and I had some difficulty in prevailing 
upon him to forego this plan. We spoke together quite 
openly in the presence of Devlin, who, for the mQst part, 
contented himself with listening to the discussion. 

*' Evidently," said Carton, *' you have suspicions against 
my guardian, and it is only fair that he should be made 
acquainted with them." 

** He shall be made acquainted with them," I replied, 
** but it must be in the way and at the time I deem best. 
I hold you to your promise to be guided by me." 

Carton nodded discontentedly. "I am to stop here 
and do nothing, I suppose," he said. 

** That is how you will best assist me," I said. "If 
you are seen at present by Mr. Dowsett, you will ruin 
everything. You shall not, however, be quite idle. Have 
you your cheque-book with you ?" 

*' Yes," he said, producing it. 

** Let me look at the block of the cheque for the two 
thousand pounds you drew on Saturday morning, payable to 
bearer, and gave to Mr. Dowsett." 

**It is the last cheque I drew," said Carton, handing 
me the book. 

I glanced at it, saw that the bank was the National 
Provincial Bank of England, and the number of the cheque 
134,178. Then I obtained a telegraph form, and at my 
instruction Carton wrote the following telegram : 

*• To the Manager, National Provincial Bank of England, 
112 Bishopsgate Street, London. Has my cheque for 
two thousand pounds (No. 184,178), drawn by me on 
Saturday, and made payable to bearer, been cashed, and 



1 60 DE VLTN THE BARBER. 

how was it paid, in notes or gold ? Reply paid. Urgent. 
Waiting here for answer. From Richard Carton, Nayland 
Rock Hotel, Margate.",^^^ i 

** I will take this myself to the telegraph-office," I said, 
*' and you will wait here for the answer. I will be back 
as quickly as possible, but it is likely I may be absent for 
an hour or more." 

With that I left him, Devlin accompanying me at my 
request. 

I could have sent the telegram from the railway station, 
but I chose to send it from the local post-office, for the 
reason that I expected to receive there a telegram from my 
wife, whom I had instructed to wire to me, before eight 
o'clock, whether there was anything fresh in the London 
newspapers concerning the murder of Lizzie Melladew. I 
mentioned this to Devlin, and he said, 

*' You omit nothing ; it is a pleasure to work with you. 
Command me in any way you please. My turn, perhaps, 
will come by and by." 

It was early morning, and our way lay along the Marine 
Parade, every house in which was either a public or a 
boarding house. From every basement in the row, as we 
walked on, ascended one uniform odour of the cooking of" 
bacon and eggs, which caused.Devlin to humorously remark 
that when bacon and eggs ceased to be the breakfast of 
the average Englishman, the decay of England's greatness 
would commence. All along the line this familiar odour 
accompanied us. 

At the post-office I found my wife's telegram awaiting 
me. It was to the effect that there was nothing new in the 
papers concerning the murder. The criminal was still at 
large, and the police appeared to have failed in obtaining a 
clue. I despatched Carton's telegram to the London bank, 
and then we proceeded to Athelstan Road, and soon found 
the house we were in search of. I had decided upon my 
plan of operations : Devlin was not to appear ; he was to 
stand at some distance from the house, and only to come 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, i6i 

forward if I called him. I was to knock and inquire for 
Mr. Dowsett, and explain fco him that, not feeling well, I 
had run down to Margate for the day. Carton had given 
me his guardian's address, and had asked me to inquire 
whether Mr. Dowsett would be absent from London for any 
length of time, intending, if such was the case, to join Mr. 
Dowsett and his family in the country. Then I was to 
trust to chance and to anything I observed how next to 
proceed. The whole invention was as lame as well could 
be, but I could not think of a better. It was only when 
decided action was necessary that I felt how powerless I 
was. All that I had to depend upon was a slender and 
mysterious thread of conjecture. 

I knocked at the door, and of the servant who opened 
it I inquired if Mr. Dowsett was up yet. 

** 0, yes, sir," replied the girl. *' Up and gone, all of 
'em." 

*' Up and gone, all of them !" I exclaimed. 

** Yes, sir. Had breakfast at half-past six, and went 
away directly afterwards." 

*' Do you know where to ?" 

** No, sir. 0, here's missus." 

The landlady came forward. *'Do you want rooms, 
sir?" 

" Not at present. I came to see Mr. Dowsett." 

** Gone away, sir ; him and the three ladies." 

'* So your servant informed me ; but I thought I should 
be certain to find him here. Stop. What did you say ? 
Mr. Dowsett and the three ladies ? You mean the two 
ladies ?" 

** I mean three," said the landlady, looking sharply at 
me. ** They only came on Saturday ; Mr. Dowsett came 
yesterday. You must excuse me, sir ; there's the dining- 
room bell and the drawing-room bell ringing all together." 

" A moment, I beg," I said, slipping half-a-crown into 
her hand. ** Do you know where they have gone to ?" 

** No ; they didn't tell me. They were in a hurry to 

M 



1 62 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

catch a train ; but I don't know what train, and don't know 
where to." 

Her manner proclaimed that she not only did not know, 
but did not care. 

** They had some boxes with them ?" I said. 

*' Yes, two. I can't wait another minute. I never 
did see such a impatient gentleman as the dining-rooms." 

" Only one more question," I said, forcibly detaining 
her. *^ Did they drive to the station?" 

" Yes ; they had a carriage. Please let me go, sir." 

**Do you know the man who drove them? Do you 
know the number of the carriage ?" 

"Haven't the slightest idea," said the landlady; and, 
freeing herself from my grasp, she ran down to her kitchen. 

I stepped into the street with a feeling of mortification. 
Mr. Kenneth Dowsett had given me the slip again. Ee- 
joining Devlin, I related to him what had passed. 

*' What are you going to do next?" he asked. 

**I am puzzled," I replied, ''and hardly know what 
to do." 

** That is not like you," said Devlin. ** Come, I will 
assist you. Mr. Kenneth Dowsett seems to be in a hurry. 
The more reason for spirit and increased vigilance on our 
part. Observe, I say our part. I am growing interested 
in this case, and am curious to see the end of it. If Mr. 
Dowsett has gone back to London, we must follow him 
there. If he has gone to some other place, we must follow 
him to some other place." 

** But how to find that out ?" 

'* He was driven to the station in a carriage. We must 
get hold of the driver. At present we are ignorant whether 
he has gone by the South-Eastern or the London, Chatham, 
and Dover. We will go and inquire at the cab-ranks." 

But although we spent fully an hour and a half in 
asking questions of every driver of a carriage we saw, we 
could ascertain no news of the carriage which had driven 
Mr. Dowsett and his family from Athelstan Road. I was 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 163 

in despair, and was about to give up the search and return 
disconsolately to the Nayland Kock, when a bare-footed 
boy ran up to me, and asked whether I wasn't looking for 
** the cove wot drove a party from Athelstan Koad." 

** Yes, I said excitedly. ** Do you know him ?" 

*' 0, I knows him," said the boy. **Bill Foster he 
is. I 'elped him up with the boxes. There was one little 
box the gent wouldn't let us touch. There was somethink 
'eavy in it, and the gent give me a copper. Thank yer, sir." 

He was about to scuttle off with the sixpence I gave 
him, when I seized him, not by the collar, because he had 
none on, but by the neck where the collar should have 
been. 

*' Not so fast. There's half-a-crown more for you if 
you take me to Bill Foster at once." 

** Can't do that, sir ; don't know where he is ; but I'll 
find 'im for yer." 

**Very good. How many persons went away in Bill 
Foster's carriage ?" 

*' There was the gent and one — two — three women — 
two young 'uns and a old 'un." 

** You're quite sure ?" 

'a'il take my oath on it." 

* ' Now look here ? Do you see these five shillings ? 
They're yours if you bring Bill Foster to me at the Nayland 
Kock in less than half-an-hour." 

** You ain't kidding, sir ?" 

" Not at all. The money's yours if you do what I tell 
you." 

" All right, sir ? I'll do it." 

*' And tell Bill Foster there's haK-a- sovereign waiting 
for him at the Nayland Rock; but he mustn't lose a 
minute." 

With an intelligent nod the boy scampered off, and we 
made our way quickly back to the hotel, where Richard 
Carton was impatiently waiting us. 

** Did you see him ?" he asked eagerly. 



1 64 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

*^No," I replied, **he went away early this morning.'* 

*' Where to?" 

**I hope to learn that presently. Have you received 
an answer to your telegram ?" 

** No, not yet. There's the telegraph messenger." 

The lad was mounting the steps of the hotel. We 
followed him, and obtained the huff-coloured envelope, 
addressed to *' Richard Carton, Nayland Eock Hotel, 
Margate," which he delivered to a waiter. Carton tore 
open the envelope, read the message, and handed it to me. 
The information it contained was that cheque 134,178, 
for two thousand pounds, signed by Eichard Carton, was 
cashed across the counter on Saturday morning ; that the 
gentleman who presented it demanded that it should be 
paid in gold ; that as this was a large amount to be so 
paid the cashier had asked the gentleman to sign his name 
at the back of the cheque, notwithstanding that it was pay- 
able to bearer, and that the signature was that of Kenneth 
"Dowsett. 

**Do you think there is anything strange in that ?" I 
asked. 

**It does seem strange," replied Carton thoughtfully. 

I made a rapid mental calculation, and said, **Two 
thousand sovereigns in gold weigh forty pounds. A heavy 
weight for a man to carry away with him." Carton did 
not reply, but I saw that, for the first time, his suspicions 
were aroused. ''You told me," I continued, ''that Mrs. 
Dowsett and her daughter Letitia went away from their 
house on Saturday morning early." 

" So my guardian informed me." 

" Was any other lady stopping with them ?" 

*' I did not understand so from my guardian." 

** Did they have any particular lady friend whom, for 
Bome reason or other, they wished to take with them to the 
seaside ?" 

" Not to my knowledge." 

" You can think of no one ?" 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 165 

** Indeed, I cannot." 

" It is your belief that only two ladies left the house ?' 

** Yes, it is my belief." 

**But," I said, '* Mrs. Dowsett took not only her 
daughter Letitia with her, but another lady, a young lady, 
as well; and the three, in company with your guardian, 
left Margate suddenly this morning. I have ascertained 
this positively. Now, who is this young lady of whom you 
have no knowledge ?" He passed his hand across his 
forehead, and gazed at me with a dawning terror in his 
eyes. ** Shall I tell you what is in my mind?" 

*' Yes." 

*'If," I said, speaking slowly and impressively, *'the 
theory I have formed is correct — and I believe it is — the 
young lady is Mary Melladew, poor Lizzie's sister." 

** Good God !" cried Carton. ** What makes you think 
that ?" 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

WE TRACK MR. KENNETH DOWSETT TO BOULOGNE. 

'* It would occupy too long a time," I replied, ''to 
make my theory thoroughly comprehensible to you. Be- 
sides," I added, glancing at Devlin, ** it is a theory strangely 
born and strangely built up, and, in all likelihood, you 
would reject the most important parts of it as incredible 
and impossible. Therefore, we will not waste time in 
explaining or discussing it. Sufficient for us if we succeed 
in tracing this dreadful mystery to its roots and in bringing 
the murderer to justice. If I do not mistake, here cornea 
the man I am waiting for." 

It was, indeed. Bill Foster, pioneered by the sharp lad 
who had engaged to find him. 

" Here he is, sir," said the boy, holding out his hand, 
half-eagerly, half-doubtfully. 



1 66 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

*' Your name is Foster," I said, addressing the man. 

** That's me," said Bill Foster. 

**You drove a party from Athelstan Koad early this 
morning?" 

*'Yes." 

I counted fire shillings into the hoy's outstretched hand, 
and he scampered away in great delight. 

" There's half- a- sovereign for you," I said to Bill Foster, 
"if you answer correctly a few questions." 

** Ahout the party I drove from Athelstan Boad?" he 
asked. 

'^ My questions will refer to them. You geem to hesi- 
tate." 

" The fact is," said Bill Foster, *' the gentleman gave 
me a florin over my fare to keep my mouth shut." 

** Only a fifth of what I oflfer you," I said. 

*' Make it a sovereign," suggested Devlin. 

*'I've no objection," I said. 

'' All right," said Bill Foster ; *' fire away." 

*' The gentleman bribed you to keep silence respecting 
his movements?" I asked. 

** It must have been for that," replied Bill Foster. 

** Proving," I observed, *' that he must have had some 
strong reason for secrecy." 

** That's got nothing to do with me," remarked Bill 
Foster. 

" Of course not. What you've got to do is to earn the 
sovereign. Who engaged you for the job ?" 

*' The gentleman himself. I wasn't out with my trap 
so early, and some one must have told him where I live. 
Anyways, he comes at a quarter-past six, and knocks me 
up, and says there's a good job waiting for me at 28 Athel- 
stan Eoad, if I'd come at once. I says, 'AH right,* and I 
puts my horse to, and drives there. I got to the house at 
ten minutes to seven, and I drives the party to the London, 
Chatham, and Dover." 

*' How many were in the party ?'* 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 167 

** Four. The gentleman, a middle-aged lady, and two 
young 'uns." 

*' About what ages were the young ladies ?" 

** Can't quite say. They wore veils; but I should 
reckon from eighteen to twenty-two. That's near 
enough." 

" What luggage was there ?" 

** Two trunks, a small box, and some other little things 
they took care of themselves." 

*' You had charge of the two trunks ?'* 

'*Yes." 

'* And of the small box ?" 

** 0, no ; the gentleman wouldn't let it out of his hands. 
I ofifered to help him with it, but he wouldn't let me touch 
it." 

*' That surprised you ?" 

"Well, yes, because it was uncommon heavy. If it 
was filled with gold he couldn't have been more careful 
of it." 

*' Perhaps it was," I said, turning slightly to Kichard 
Carton. 

" It was heavy enough. Why, he could hardly carry it." 

*' Did either of the ladies appear anxious about it ?" 

'* Yes, the middle-aged one. When I saw them so par- 
ticular, I said, said I — to myself, you know — I shouldn't 
mind having that myself." 

** When the gentleman told you to drive to the London, 
Chatham, and Dover station, did he say what train he 
wished to catch?" 

** No, but I found out the train they went by. It was 
the down train for Kamsgate, 7.31." 

** They reached the station some time before it started ?" 

** Yes, twenty minutes before. After the gentleman took 
his tickets he came from the platform two or three times 
and looked at me. * What are you waiting for ?' he asked 
the last time. * For a fare,' I answered. * Look here,' he 
said, * if anybody asks you any questions about me, don't 



1 68 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

answer them. * Why shouldn't I ?' I asked. It was then 
he pulled out the florin. * 0, very well,' I said; * it's no 
business of mine.' But I didn't go away till the train started 
with them in it." 

** Do you know whether they intended to stop in Mar- 
gate?" 

*'I should say not. As I drove 'em to the station, I 
heard the gentleman speak to the middle-aged lady — his 
wife, I suppose — about the boat for Boulogne." 

I gave a start of vexation ; Devlin smiled ; Carton was 
following the conversation with great attention. 

'* Do you know what boat ?" 

*' The Sir Walter Kaleigh. The gentleman had one of 
the bills in his hand, and was looking at it. He said to the 
lady, * We shall be in plenty of time.' " 

* ' Do you know at what time the boat starts from 
Kamsgate for Boulogne ?" 

*' Leaves the harbdur at half-past nine, but is generally 
half an hour late." 

I looked at my watch. It was just eleven o'clock. 

**Is there any chance," I asked, **of this boat being 
delayed?" 

'' Why should it ? The weather's fair." 

**Is there any other boat starting for Boulogne this 
morning?" 

*' None. There's the Sir Walter Kaleigh from Eamsgate, 
and sometimes the India from here ; but the India don't go 
to-day." 

*' Could we hire a boat from here ?" 

** You might, but it would be risky, and would cost a 
lot of money. Then, there's no saying when you would get 
there. It's a matter of between forty and fifty miles, and 
the steamers take about five hours getting across ; some- 
times a little less, generally a little more. There's no 
depending upon 'em. Look here. You're going to behave 
to me liberal. You want to follow the party I drove from 
Athelstan Road this morning." 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 169 

* Show me the way to get to Boulogne to-day," I said, 
* and I'll give you another half-sovereign." 

** Practical creature!" murmured Devlin. *' In human 
dealings there is but one true touchstone." 

** Spoke like a real gentleman," said Bill Foster to me. 
"What time is it?" 

** Five minutes past eleven." 

** Wait here ; I sha'n't be gone but a few minutes. Get 
everything ready to start directly I come back." 

His trap was standing at the corner of Royal Crescent. 
He ran out, jumped on the box, and was gone. I called to 
the waiter, and in three minutes the hotel bill was paid, and 
we were ready. 

During Bill Foster's absence I said to Carton, 

** Do you make anything of all this ?" 

**It looks," replied Carton, **as if my guardian was 
running away." 

** To my mind there's not a doubt of it. Have you any 
idea what that little box he would not let out of his charge 
contains ?' 

** The two thousand sovereigns he obtained from the 
bank," said Carton, in a tone of inquiry. 

*' Exactly. I tell you now plainly that I am positive 
Mr. Kenneth Dowsett is implicated in the murder of your 
poor girl." 

Carton set his teeth in great agitation. '* If he is ! if 
he is !" he said ; but he could say no more. 

Bill Foster was back. 

** There's a train to Folkestone," he cried, ** the South- 
Eastern line, at 11.47. You can catch it easily. If there's 
no boat handy from Folkestone to Boulogne, you'll be able to 
hire one there. The steamers take two hours going across. 
You can get there in four. Train arrives at Folkestone at 
1.27. By six o'clock you can be in Boulogne. Jump into 
my trap, gentlemen." 

We jumped in, and were driven to the station. His 
information was correct. I gave him thirty shillings, and 



170 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

he departed in high glee. Then we took tickets for Folke- 
stone, and arrived there at a quarter to two. 

There was no steamer going, but with little difficulty 
we arranged to get across. The passage took longer than 
four hours — it took six. At nine o'clock at night we were 
in Boulogne. 

I cannot speak an intelligible sentence in French. Car- 
ton was too agitated to take the direction of affairs. 

" Do you know where we can stop ?" I asked of Devlin. 
" Have you ever been here before ?" 

** My dear sir," said Devlin, '* I have travelled all over 
the world, and I know Boulogne by heart. There's a little 
out-of-the-way hotel, the Hotel de Poilly, in Kue de 
I'Amiral Bruix, that will suit us as though it were built 
for us." 

*'Let us get there at once," I said. 

He called a fly, and in a very short time we entered 
the courtyard of the Hotel de Poilly. There we made 
arrangements with the jolly, comfortable -looking landlady, 
and then I looked at Carton, and he looked at me. The 
helplessness of our situation struck us both forcibly. 

** Who is in command ?" asked Devlin suddenly. 

** You," I replied, as by an inspiration. 

** Good," said Devlin. ** I accept the office. From 
this moment you are under my orders. Remain you here ; 
I go to reconnoitre." 

** You will return ?" I said. 

** My dear sir," said Devlin airily, *' it is too late now 
to doubt my integrity. I will return." 

**For God's sake," said Carton, when Devlin was gone, 
** who is this man who seems to divine everything, to know 
everything, and whom nothing disturbs ? Sometimes when 
he looks at me I feel that he is exercising over me a 
terrible fascination." 

" I cannot answer you," I said. *' Be satisfied with 
the knowledge that it is through him we have so far suc- 
ceeded, and that, in my belief, it will be through him that 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 171 

the murderer will be tracked down. The world is full of 
mysteries, and that man is not the least of them." 

It wanted an hour to midnight when Devlin returned. 
In his inscrutable face I read no sign of success or 
failure ; but the first words he spoke aiforded me infinite 
relief. 

" I have seen him," he said. ** Let us go out and talk. 
Walls have ears." 

The river Liane was but a short distance from the 
hotel, and we strolled along the bank in silence, Devlin, 
contrary to my expectation, not uttering a word for many 
minutes. He had lit a cigar, and Carton had accepted 
one from him ; I refused to smoke, having too vivid a re- 
membrance of the cigar I had smoked in Fanny Lemon's 
house, and its effect upon me. At length Devlin said 
to Carton : 

** You appear sleepy." 

**I am," said the young man. 

*'You had best go to bed," said Devlin; ** nothing 
can be done to-night." 

Carton, assenting, would have returned to the hotel 
alone, saying he could find the way, but I insisted that we 
should accompany him thither. I had heard that Boulogne 
was not the safest place in the world for strangers on a 
dark night. Having seen Carton to his room, we returned 
to the river's bank. Had Carton been in possession of his 
full senses he would doubtless have objected, but he was 
dead asleep when he entered his bedroom, Devlin's cigar 
having affected him as the one I smoked had affected me. 

*'He encumbers us," said Devlin, looking out upon 
the dark river. ** I have discovered where Mr. Dowsett is 
lodging, and were our young friend informed of the address 
he might rush there, and spoil all. We happen to be in 
luck, if you beUeve in such a quality as luck. I do not ; 
but I use the term out of compliment to you. Mr. Dowsett's 
quarters are in the locality of the Kue de la Paix, and, 
singularly enough, are situated over a barber's shop. Things 



172 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

go in runs, do they not ? Nothing but barbers. I do not 
return with you to the hotel to-night." 

** What do you mean ?" I asked, startled by this infor- 
mation. 

**The proprietor of the barber's shop over which Mr. 
Kenneth Dowsett is sleeping — but, perhaps, not sleeping, 
for a sword is hanging above his head, and he may be 
gazing at the phantom in terror — say, then, over which he 
is lying, is an agreeable person. I have struck up an 
acquaintance with him, and, by arrangement, shall be in his 
saloon to-morrow, to attend to any persons who may pre- 
sent themselves. Mr. Dowsett will probably need the razor 
and the brush. I can easily account for my appearance in 
Boulogne ; I have come to see my friend and brother. Mr. 
Dowsett, unsuspecting — for what connection can he trace 
between me and Lizzie Melladew ? — will place himself in 
my hands. He has told me that there is not my equal ; 
he may find that it is so. In order that I may not miss 
him I go to the house to-night. Early in the morning 
come you, alone, to the Kue de la Paix. You can ride to 
the foot of the hill, there alight, and on the right-hand side, 
a third of the way up, you will see my new friend's estab- 
lishment. I will find you a snug corner from which you 
may observe and hear, yourself unseen, all that passes. Are 
you satisfied now that I am keeping faith with you ?" 

" Indeed, you are proving it," I replied. 

" Give me no more credit than I deserve," said Devlin. 
*' It is simply that I keep a promise. In the fulfilment of 
this promise — both in the spirit and to the letter, my dear 
sir — I may to-morrow unfold to you a wonder. It is my 
purpose to compel the man we have pursued to himself 
reveal all that he knows of Lizzie Melladew. Perhaps it 
will be as well for you to take down in writing what 
passes between us. Accept it from me that there are 
unseen forces and unseen powers in this world, so rich in 
sin, of which few men dream. See those shadows moving 
on the water — are they not like living spirits ? The dark 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 173 

river itself, had it a tongue, could appal you. On such 
nights as this are secret crimes committed by devils who 
bear the shape of men. What kind of being is that who 
smiles in your face, who presses your hand, who speaks 
pleasant words to you, and harbours all the while in what 
is called his heart a fell design towards the execution of 
which he moves without one spark of compassion ? I don't 
complain of him, my dear sir; on the contrary" — and 
here, although I could not see Devlin's face, I could fancy 
a sinister smile overspreading it — *'I rather delight in 
him. It proves him to be what he is — and he is but a 
type of innumerable others. Your innocent ones are arro- 
gant in the vaunting of their goodness ; your ambitious 
ones glory in their successes which bring ruin to their 
brethren ; your kings and emperors appropriate Providence, 
and do not even pay him a shilling for the conscription. 
A grand world, and grandly peopled ! The man who 
glories in sin compels my admiration ; but this one whom 
we are hunting is a coward and a sneak. He shall meet 
his doom !" 

As he ceased speaking he vanished; I can find no 
other word to express the effect his sudden disappearance 
had upon me. Whether he intended to create a dramatic 
surprise I cannot say, but, certainly, he was no longer by 
my side. With some difficulty I found my way alone back 
to the Hotel de Poilly, where Carton was fast asleep. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE TRANCE AND THE REVELATION. 

Of all the strange experiences I have narrated in con- 
nection with Devlin, that which awaited me on the fol- 
lowing morning was the most startling and inexplicable. 
Prevailing with difficulty upon Richard Carton to remain 



174 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

at the hotel until I either came to or sent for him, I drove 
to the foot of the Kue de la Paix, as I was instructed to 
do. I took the precaution to hire the driver of the fly 
by the hour, and desired him to stop where I alighted 
until I needed him. I was impelled to this course by a 
feeling that I might possibly require some person to take 
a message to Carton or bring him to the Kue de la Paix. 
I found the barber's shop easily, and could scarcely refrain 
from uttering a loud exclamation at the sight of Mr. Ken- 
neth Dowsett sitting in a barber's chair, and Devlin standing 
over him, leisurely at work. Devlin, with his finger at his 
lips, pointed to a table in a corner of the shop, at which I 
seated myself in obedience to the silent command. On 
the table were writing materials and paper, and on a sheet 
of this paper was written : *' You are late. I have thrown 
Mr. Dowsett into a trance. He will reveal all he knows. 
I will compel him to do so. Take down in writing what 
transpires." 

My heart throbbed violently as I prepared myself for 
the task. 

Devlin : '* Do you know where you are ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : '* Yes, in Boulogne." 

Devlin : ** Where were you yesterday ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: **In Margate." 

Devlin : ** Where were you on Friday last ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : '* At home, in London." 

Devlin : " Eecall the occurrences of that day ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : ** I do so." 

Devlin: *' At what hour did you rise ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : *' At nine o'clock." 

Devlin : '•^ Who were present at the breakfast-table ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: **My wife and daughter, and Kichard 
Carton." 

Devlin : ' ' Was anything relating to the engagement 
of Richard Carton and Lizzie Melladew said at the breakfast- 
table ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: ** Nothing," 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 175 

Devlin : ** Was there anything in your mind in relation 
to it?" 

Mr. Dowsett : ** Yes. I had a plan to carry out, and 
was thinking of it." 

Devlin: **In what way did you put the plan into 
execution ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : ** When breakfast was over, I went to my 
private room and locked the door. Then I sat down and 
wrote a letter." 

Devlin: ** To whom?" 
Mr. Dowsett : " To Lizzie Melladew." 
Devlin : ** What did you write ?" 
Mr. Dowsett: *'A heart-broken woman implores you 
to meet her to-night at eleven o'clock in Victoria Park, and, 
so that she may recognise you, begs you to wear a bunch 
of white daisies in your belt. She will wear the same, so 
that you may recognise her. The life and welfare of Mr. 
Richard Carton hangs upon this meeting. If you fail, a 
dreadful fate awaits him, which you can avert. As you 
value his happiness and your own, come." 

Devlin : ** What did you do with the letter ?" 
Mr. Dowsett : *' I addressed it to Miss Lizzie Melladew, 
at her place of business in Baker Street, and posted it at 
the Charing Cross Post-office." 

Devlin : '* How did you know she worked there ?" 
Mr. Dowsett: ** I learnt it from my ward, Richard 
Carton." 

Devlin : ** Did you disguise your handwriting ?" 
Mr. Dowsett : *' Yes ; I wrote it in a feminine hand." 
Devlin : ** What was your object in writing the letter ?" 
Mr. Dowsett : *' I was determined that Richard Carton 
should not marry Lizzie Melladew." 
Devlin: *'Why?" 

Mr. Dowsett : " I had all along arranged that he should 
marry my daughter Letitia." 

Devlin : * * How did you propose to break off the match 
between your ward and Lizzie Melladew?" 



176 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

Mr. Dowsett : *' My plans were not entirely clear to 
myself. I intended to appeal to the young woman, and to 
invent some disreputable story to make her suspect that 
he was false to her. If that failed, then " 

Devlin: ** Proceed. Then?" 

Mr. Dowsett: "I was resolved to go any lengths, to 
do anything to prevent the marriage." 

Devlin : " Even murder." 

Mr. Dowsett : ' ' I did not think of that — I would not 
think of it." 

Devlin : ' ' But you did think of it. You could not 
banish that idea from your mind?" 

Mr. Dowsett : *' I could not, though I tried. It crept 
in the whole of the day. I could not help seeing the scene. 
Night — the park — the young woman with the bunch of 
white daisies in her belt stained with blood." 

Devlin : * ' Those pictures were in your mind, and you 
could not banish them ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : '' I could not." 

Devlin : *' There were other reasons for preventing the 
marriage than your wish that Richard Carton should marry 
your daughter ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : '' There were." 

Devlin : " What were they ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : ** If he married Lizzie Melladew, I 
should no longer enjoy the income I had received for so 
many years. I looked upon it as mine. I could not live 
without it. We should have been beggared — disgraced 
as well. I had forged my ward's name to bills, and if he 
married out of my family there would have been exposure, 
and I might have found myself in a felon's dock. If he 
married my daughter this would not occur. I was safe so 
long as I could keep my hold upon him." 

Devlin : ' * Did your wife and daughter know this ?' ' 

Mr. Dowsett : " My daughter knew nothing of it. My 
wife suspected it." 

Devlin : * ' Did she know that you contemplated murder ?" 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 177 

Mr. Dowsett : '* She did not." 

Devlin : ** Why did you give Richard Carton a sleep- 
ing draught on that night ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : ** In order that he might sleep soundly, 
and not discover that I left the house late." 

Devlin : *' Were your wife and daughter asleep when 
you left your house ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : ** They were ahed. I do not know 
whether they were asleep." 

Devlin : ** You took a knife with you ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: *' I did." 

Devlin : " Where did you obtain it ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : "It was a large clasp knife I had had 
for years. I found it in a private drawer." 

Devlin : ** You went to the private drawer for the pur- 
pose of finding it ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: *'I did." 

Devlin : *'.Did any one see you leave the house ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : *' No one." 

Devlin : ** Did you walk or ride to Victoria Park ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: *' I walked." 

Devlin : "To avoid supicion ?" 

Mr. Dowsett: "Yes." 

Devlin : " When you arrived at the Park did you have 
any difiiculty in finding Miss Melladew ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : "I soon found her." 

Devlin : " What did you do then ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : "I made an appeal to her." 

Devlin : " Did she listen to you quietly ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : " No. She taunted me with having 
tricked her by writing an anonymous letter in a disguised 
hand." 

Devlin : " Go on." 

Mr. Dowsett : "I told her it was the only way I could 
obtain a private interview with her. I invented a scandalous 
story about my ward. She said she did not believe it, and 
that she would expose me to him. She told me that I was 



178 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

infamons, and that it was her belief I had been systemati- 
cally practising deceit upon my ward, and that she would 
not be surprised to discover that I had been robbing him. 
* To-morrow he shall see you in your true colours,' she 
said. I was maddened. If she carried out her intention I 
knew that I was a ruined and disgraced man. * That to- 
morrow will never come !' I cried. The knife was in my 
hand. I scarcely know bow it came there, and do not 
remember opening the blade. ' That to-morrow will come !' 
she retorted. * It shall not ! ' I cried ; and I stabbed her 
to the heart. She uttered but one cry, and fell down dead." 

Devlin : *' What did you do after that ?" 

Mr. Dowsett : '* I hastened away, taking the knife 
with me. I chose the darkest paths. Suddenly I came 
upon a young woman sitting upon a bench, reclining 
against the back. I saw her face, and was rooted to the 
spot in sudden fear. She did not stir. Kecovering, I 
crept softly towards her, and found that she was asleep. 
Leaving her there, I hastened back to the woman I had 
stabbed. I knelt down and looked closely at her. I felt 
in her pockets ; she was quite dead. There were letters in 
her pockets which I examined, and then — and then " 

Devlin: ''And then?" 

Mr. Dowsett : "I discovered that the woman I had 
killed was not Lizzie Melladew !" 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE ItSSCUE. 

So startled was I by this revelation that I jumped to 
my feet in a state of uncontrollable agitation. What I should 
have done I cannot say, but the direction of events was not 
left in my hands. Simultaneously with my movement of 
astonishment, a piercing scream rang through the house. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 179 

I was standing now by the chair in which Mr. Kenneth 
Dowsett was sitting in his trance, and I observed a change 
pass over his face ; the scream had pierced the veil in which 
his waking senses were enshrouded. Devlin also observed 
this change, and he said to me hurriedly : 

** Go up-stairs and see what is taking place. Your pre- 
sence may be needed there, and to one person may be very 
welcome. I will keep charge over this man." 

As I left the room I heard Devlin turn the key in the 
lock. Eapidly I mounted the stairs, and dashed into a room 
on the first landing, from which the sound of female voices 
were issuing. Three women were there ; two were stran- 
gers to me, but even in that agitating moment I correctly 
divined that they were Mrs. Dowsett and Letitia ; the 
third, who rushed with convulsive sobs into my open arms, 
was no other than Lizzie Melladew herself. 

"0, thank God, you have come!" she sobbed ; ** thank 
God ! thank God ! Where is Mary ? Where is Kichard ? 
Take me to them ! 0, take me to them !" 

Mrs. Dowsett was the first to recover herself. ** You 
will remain here," she said sternly to Lizzie ; and then, 
addressing me, ** How dare you break into my apartment in 
this manner?" 

" I dare do more than that," I replied, in a voice sterner 
than her own, and holding the weeping girl close to my 
heart. ** Prepare you to answer for what has been done. 
I thank God, indeed, that I have arrived in time, perhaps, 
to prevent another crime. All is discovered." 

At these words Mrs. Dowsett shrank back, white and 
trembling. I did not stop to say more. My first duty was 
to place Lizzie Melladew in safety ; but where ? The men- 
tal question conveyed its own answer. Where, but in her 
lover's arms ? 

" Come," I said to Lizzie. "You are safe now. I 
am going to take you to Eichard Carton. Trust yourself to 
me." 

**I will, I willl" sobbed Lizzie, ** Richard is here, 



I So DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

then ? How thankful I am, how thankful ! And Mary, my 
dear sister, is she here, too ?" 

I was appalled at this last question. It proved that 
Lizzie was ignorant of what had occurred. Not daring to 
answer her, I drew her from the room, and the women I 
left there made no attempt to prevent me. Swiftly I took 
my precious charge from the house, and in a very few min- 
utes we were in the carriage which was waiting for me at 
the foot of the Rue de la Paix. The driver understood the 
direction I gave him, and we galloped at full speed to the 
Hotel de Poilly. Without revealing to Lizzie what I knew, 
I learnt from her before we reached the hotel sufficient to 
enlighten me as to Mr. Kenneth Dowsett's proceedings, and 
to confirm my suspicion that it was Mary Melladew who had 
met her death at that villain's hands. When Lizzie re- 
ceived the anonymous letter which he wrote to her, she took it 
to her poor sister, who, fearing some plot, prevailed upon her 
to let her see the anonymous writer in Lizzie's place; and, the 
better to carry out the plan, the sisters changed dresses, and 
went together to Victoria Park. Being twins, and bearing 
so close a resemblance to each other, there was little fear 
of the change being discovered until at least Mary had 
ascertained why the meeting was so urgently desired. 
Leaving Lizzie in a secluded part of the park, Mary pro- 
ceeded to the rendezvous, with what result Mr. Dowsett's 
confession has already made clear. Discovering the fatal 
error he had committed, Mr. Dowsett returned to Lizzie, 
who, while waiting for her sister, had fallen asleep. Being 
thoroughly unnerved, he decided that there was only one 
means of safety before him — flight and the concealment of 
Lizzie Melladew. The idea of a second murder may have 
occurred to him, but, villain as he was, he had not the cour- 
age to carry it out. He had taken from the dead girl's 
pocket everything it contained, with the exception of a 
handkerchief which, m his haste, he overlooked; and upon 
this handkerchief was marked the name of Lizzie Mella- 
dew. He could imitate Richard Carton's writing — as was 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, i8i 

proved by the forgeries he had already committed — and 
upon the back of this anonymous letter he wrote in 
pencil a few words in which Lizzie was implored to 
trust herself implicitly to Mr. Dowsett, and without 
question to do as he directed. Signing these words in 
Kichard Carton's name, he awoke Lizzie and gave her the 
note. Alarmed and agitated as the young girl was, and 
fearing that some great danger threatened her lover, she, 
with very little hesitation, allowed herself to be persuaded 
by Mr. Dowsett, and accompanied him home. ** Where is 
Mary ?" she asked. " With our dear Richard," replied 
Mr. Dowsett; **we shall see them to-morrow, when all 
will be explained." At home Mr. Dowsett informed his 
wife of his peril, and the three females left for Margate by 
an early train in the morning. In Margate Mrs. Dowsett 
received telegrams signed ** Richard Carton," but really 
sent by her husband, which she showed to Lizzie, and which 
served in some measure to assist the successful continua- 
tion of the scheme by which Lizzie was to be taken out of 
the country. Meanwhile she was in absolute ignorance of 
her sister's fate ; no newspaper was allowed to reach her 
hands, nor was she allowed to speak to a soul but Mrs. 
Dowsett and Letitia. What was eventually to be done 
with her I cannot say ; probably Mr. Dowsett himself had 
not been able to make up his mind, which was almost 
entirely occupied by considerations for his own safety. 

I did not, of course, learn all this from Lizzie, she 
being then ignorant of much which I have related, but I 
have put together what she told me and what I sub- 
sequently learnt from Devlin and other sources. 

Arriving at the Hotel de Poilly, I succeeded in con- 
veying Lizzie into a private room, and then I sought 
Richard Carton. I need not set down here in detail the 
conversation I had with him. Little by little I made him ac- 
quainted with the whole truth. Needless to describe his 
joy when he heard that his beloved girl was alive and 
safe — joy, tempered with grief at poor Mary's fate. 



i82 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

When he was calm enough to be practical, he asked me 
what was to he done. 

'* No time must be lost," I said, " in restoring your 
dear Lizzie to her parents. To you I shall confide her. 
Leave that monster, your treacherous guardian, to Devlin 
and me." 

It was with difficulty I restrained him from rushing to 
Lizzie, but I insisted that his movements must be definitely 
decided upon before he saw her. I called in the assistance of 
the jolly landlady, and she supplied me with a time-table, 
from which I ascertained that a boat for Dover left at 12.31, 
and that it was timed to reach its destination at 3.20. 
There were numerous trains from Dover to London, and 
Lizzie would be in her parents' arms before night. Carton 
joyfully acquiesced in this arrangement, and then I took 
him in to his dear girl, and, closing the door upon them, 
left them to themselves. A meeting such as theirs, and 
under such circumstances, was sacred. 

While they were together I wrote two letters — one to 
my wife, and the other to Mr. Portland — which I intended 
should be delivered by Carton. I did not intrude upon 
the happy lovers till the last moment. I found them 
sitting close together, quite silent, hand clasped in hand, 
her head upon his breast. I had cautioned him to say 
nothing of Mary's sad fate, and I saw by the expression 
upon Lizzie's face that he had obeyed me. After joy 
would come sorrow ; there was time enough for that. Mary 
had given her life for her sister's ; the sacrifice would ever 
be held in sacred remembrance. 

I saw them off by the boat ; they waved their hand- 
kerchiefs to me, and I thought of the Melladews mourning 
at home, to whom, at least, one dear child would soon be 
restored. When the boat was out of sight, I jumped into 
the carriage, and was driven back to the Kue de la Paix. 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 183 

CHAPTER XXX. 

Devlin's last scheme. 

I TRIED the door of the room in which I had left 
Devlin and Mr. Kenneth Dowsett. It was locked. 

** Enter," said Devlin, unlocking the door. 

They were both in the room, Devlin smiling and un- 
ruffled, Mr. Dowsett in the full possession of his senses, and 
terribly ill at ease. 

He turned like death when he saw me. 

** This gentleman," said Devlin, *' is angry at being 
detained by me, and would have resorted to violence if he 
thought it would serve his purpose. I have waited for 
your return to decide what to do." 

** You shall pay for this," Mr. Dair»ett managed to 
say, *' you and your confederate. If there is justice in this 
world, I will make you smart for your unlawful proceedings." 

** There zs justice in the world," I said^^calmly, " as 
you shall find." 

He was silent. With a weight of guilt upon his soul, 
he did not know how to reply to this remark. But he 
managed presently to ask : 

** How long do you intend to detain me ?" 

** You shall know soon," I said ; and, by a gesture, I 
intimated to Devlin that I wished to confer with him alone. 

He accompanied me from the room, and we stood in 
the passage, keeping guard upon the door, which Devlin 
locked from the outside. 

** There are no means of escape from within," he said. 
** I have seen to that." 

In a low tone I told him what I had done, and he 
approved. 

** The question now is," I said, *' what step are Xve 
next to take ?" 

** There lies the difficulty," replied Devlin. *'You see 



i84 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

my dear sir, we have no evidence upon which to arrest 
him." 

**No evidence!" I cried. ** Is there not his own 
confession of guilt ?" 

Devlin shook his head. *' Spiritual evidence only, my 
dear sir. Not admissible in any court of law in the^ world. 
Impossible to obtain his arrest in a foreign country upon 
such a slender thread. He might bring the same accusa- 
tion against us, and we might all be thrown into gaol, and 
kept there for months. That is not what I bargained for. 
Our best plan will be to get him back to England; 
then you can take some practicable step." 

** But how to manage that?" I asked. 

*'It can be managed, I think," said Devlin. *' I have 
a scheme. He knows nothing of the confession he has 
made. Lizzie Melladew's name has not been mentioned 
between us. It is only his fears and my strength of will 
that make him tractable. Before I put my scheme into 
operation, go up-stairs to see if his wife and daughter are 
in the house. I have my suspicions that they have flown. 
You will find me here when you come down." 

I ran up-stairs to the apartments occupied by Mrs. Dow- 
sett. Devlin's suspicions were confirmed. The two women 
were gone. There were evidences around of a hasty flight, 
the most pregnant of them being a small box which had 
been broken open. I judged immediately that this was the 
box which had contained the two thousand sovereigns ; and, 
indeed, I found two of the sovereigns under a couch, 
whither they had rolled while the bulk was being taken out. 
The conclusion I came to was, that the women, frightened 
that all was discovered, as I had informed them, had 
broken open the box, and, packing the gold away upon their 
persons, had taken to flight, leaving Mr. Dowsett to his fate. 

I went down to Devlin, and acquainted him with the 
result of my investigation. 

" Quite as I expected," he said. ** Let them go for 
the present. Our concern is with the man inside. I am 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 185 

going to put my scheme into operation. What is the 
time?" 

** Five minutes past two," I replied, looking at my 
watch. 

*' In capital time," said Devlin. *' Wait you here 
until half-past two. Then go in to Mr. Dowsett, and 
apologise to him for the indignity to which he has been 
subjected. He will fume and threaten ; let him. Be you 
humble and contrite, and say that you are very, very sorry. 
Throw all the blame upon me : say that I have deceived 
you, imposed upon you, robbed you — anything that comes 
to your mind. To me it matters not ; it will assist our 
scheme. There is no fear of Mr. Dowsett not waiting till 
you go in to him ; he is frightened out of his life. Your 
humble attitude will give him courage ; he will think him- 
self safe." 

** I cannot imagine," I said, *' how this will help us." 

** Don't imagine," said Devlin curtly. " Leave all to 
me. The first thing Mr. Dowsett will do when he finds 
himself free will be to go up to the rooms in which he left 
the three women who accompanied him here. Meanwhile, 
you will keep watch outside the house ; but on no account 
must he see you. Trust to me for the rest." 

He had served me so faithfully up to this point that I 
trusted him unhesitatingly. As he had prophesied, Mr. 
Dowsett kept quiet within the room. Listening at the 
door, I heard him moving softly about, but he made no 
attempt to come out. At half-past two I entered the room, 
and followed Devlin's instructions to the letter. Mr. Dow- 
sett, his courage restored, immediately began to bluster 
and threaten. I listened submissively, and made pretence 
of being greatly distressed. When he had exhausted him- 
self, I left him with further profuse expressions of regret, 
and as I issued from the house I saw him mounting the 
stairs to his wife's apartments. 

Emerging into the Rue de la Paix, I planted myself in 
a spot from which I had a clear view of the house, and was 



1 86 DEVLIN THE BARBER, 

myself concealed from observation. Scarcely was I settled 
in my position when I saw a man, with a telegram in his 
hand, enter the house. He remained there a very few 
moments, and then came out and walked away, having, 
presumably, delivered his message. Within a space of five 
minutes, Mr. Dowsett, holding the telegram, came forth, 
and, casting sharp glances around, quickly left the Kue de 
la Paix. Before he had turned the corner, Devlin joined 
me, humming a French song. Together we followed Mr. 
Dowsett at a safe distance. 

'* My scheme is alive," he said. 

I asked him to explain it to me. 

*' You saw the messenger," he' said, *' enter with a 
telegram. You saw him leave without it. You saw Mr. 
Dowsett come out with the telegram. It was from his wife." 

^'From his wife?" 

*' Sent by me. The telegram was to the effect that 
something had occurred which had induced her to leave 
Boulogne immediately, and that she, her daughter, and 
the young lady with them (I was careful not to mention her 
name, you see) would be in Kamsgate, waiting for him. He 
was to come by the afternoon boat, and she would meet 
him on the pier. See, he is entering the shipping- oflBce 
now, to secure his passage." 

**What are we to do?" 

** We travel in the same boat, going aboard at the last 
moment. After the boat has started — not before — he will 
know that we are fellow-passengers." 

All happened as Devlin had arranged. By his skilful 
pioneering we did not lose sight of Mr. Dowsett until he 
stepped aboard the boat, and I inferred from his manner 
that by that time he had regained confidence, and deemed 
his secret safe. When we slipped on deck, at the very 
moment of starting, Mr. Dowsett was below in the saloon. 

There were not many passengers, and the French coast 
was still in view when Mr. Dowsett came up from the saloon 
and stood by the bulwarks, within a yard or two of the seat 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 187 

upon which we were sitting. We did not speak, but sat 
watching him. Turning, he saw us. 

** You here!" he cried. 

'* By your leave," I replied. 

** Not by my leave," he said. " Why are you following 
me?" 

*'Have you any reason," I said, *'for suspecting that 
you are being followed?" 

'* I was a fool to ask the question," he said, turning 
abruptly away. 

I did not speak, but kept my eyes upon him. I was 
determined not to lose sight of him for another moment. 
Some understanding of this determination seemed to dawn 
upon him ; he looked at me two or three times with waver- 
ing eyes, and presently, summoning all his courage to his 
aid, he stared me full in the face. I met his gaze sternly, 
unflinchingly, until I compelled him to lower his eyes. 
Then he suddenly went down into the saloon. I stepped 
swiftly after him, and Devlin accompanied me. For the 
purpose of testing me, he turned and ascended again to the 
deck. We followed him. 

** Perhaps," he said, ♦* you will explain what you mean 
by this conduct ?" 

** What need to ask?" I replied. *'Let your consci- 
ence answer." 

"It is an outrage," he said, after a pause. "If you 
continue to annoy me, I shall appeal to the captain." 

"Do so," I said, "and prepare to meet at once the 
charge I shall bring against you." 

He did not dare to inquire the nature of the charge. 
He did not dare to move or speak again. Sullenly, and 
with an inward raging, the traces of which he could not 
disguise, he remained by the bulwarks, staring down at the 
water. 

Suddenly there was a lull aboard. The machinery 
stopped working. 

"Some accident," said Devlin, and went to ascertain 



1 88 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

its nature. Eetnrning, he said, *^We shall he delayed a 
couple of hours, most likely. It will he dark night, when 
we arrive." 

It was as he said. For two hours or more we made no 
progress ; then, the necessary repairs having been made, 
we started again. By that time it was evening. And still 
Mr. Dowsett neither moved or spoke. 

Night crept on ; there was no moon, and not a star 
visible in the dark sky ; it was black night. Mr. Dowsett 
strove to take advantage of this to evade and escape from 
us, but we kept so close to him that we could have touched 
him by the movement of a finger; where he glided, we 
glided ; and still he uttered not a word. 

We stood in a group alone, isolated as it were, from 
the other passengers. After repeated attempts to slip from 
us, Mr. Dowsett remained still again. In the midst of the 
darkness Devlin's voice stole upon our ears. 

*' Short-sighted fool," he said, *'to think that crime 
can be for ever successfully hidden. Wherever man moves, 
the spirit of committed evil accompanies him, and leads 
him to his doom. His peril lies not only in mortal insight, 
but in the unseen, mysterious agencies, by which he is 
surrounded. Blood for blood ; it is the immutable law ; 
and if by some human failure he for a time evades his 
punishment at the hand of man, he suffers a punishment 
more terrible than human justice can execute upon him. 
Wakiug or sleeping, it is ever with him. Look out upon 
the darkness, and behold, rising from the shadows, the form 
of the innocent girl whose life you took. To the last 
moment of your life her spirit shall accompany you ; till 
death claims you, you shall know no peace !" 

Whatever of malignancy there was in Devlin's voice, 
the words he spoke conveyed the stern, eternal truth. It 
seemed to me, as I gazed before me, that the spirit he 
evoked loomed sadly among the shadows. 

Onward through the sea the boat ploughed its way, and 
we three stood close together, encompassed by a dread and 



DEVLIN THE BARBER. 189 

awful silence ; for Devlin spoke no more, nor from Mr. 
Dowsett's lips did any sound issue. 

In the distance we saw the lights of Eamsgate Pier, 
and before the captain or any person on board was aware of 
its close contiguity, we suddenly dashed against it. 

I and all others on board were thrown violently down 
by the shock. There were loud cries of alarm and agony, 
and I found myself separated from my companions. From 
the water came appeals for help from some who had been 
tossed overboard by the collision, and a period of great con- 
fusion ensued. What help could be given was afforded, and 
when I succeeded in reaching the stone pier in safety, I 
heard that a few of the passengers were missing — among 
them Devlin and Mr. Dowsett. 

I remained on the pier till past one o'clock in the morn- 
ing, rendering what little assistance I could ; and event- 
ually I learnt that all who had been in danger were saved, 
with the exception of the two whom I have named. It was 
early morning before the body of one was recovered. That 
one was Mr. Kenneth Dowsett. He lay dead in a boat, his 
face convulsed with agony, upturned to the gray light of 
the coming day. Of Devlin no trace could be found. 
#*♦♦#♦ 

There is but little more to tell. With the exception of 
the part which Devlin played in it, and which has now for 
the first time been related, the story became public pro- 
perty, and Kenneth Dowsett was proved to be the mur- 
derer of poor Mary Melladew, Time has softened the 
grief of Mr. and Mrs. Melladew, and they find in the love 
of Lizzie and her husband, Richard Carton, some solace for 
the tragedy which a ruthless hand committed. Mr. Port- 
land paid me the two thousand pounds he promised, and I 
am in a fair way of business. Fanny Lemon and her hus- 
band live in retirement in the country. Not a word ever 
passes their lips in connection with the events I have 
related. I have seen and heard nothing of Mrs. Dowsett 
and her daughter. 



I90 DEVLIN THE BARBER. 

A short time ago my wife and I were in an open-air 
public place of amusement witnessing a wonderful exhibi- 
tion, the extraordinary novelty of which consisted in a man 
floating earthwards from the clouds at a distance of some 
thousands of feet from the earth. 

*' Look there !" said my wife. 

I had given her such faithful and vivid descriptions of 
Devlin that she always said, if it happened that he still 
lived and she saw him, that she could not fail to recognise him. 
I turned in the direction she indicated, and, standing alone, 
apart from the crowd, once more saw Devlin. He was 
watching the performer floating from heaven to earth. There 
was a strange smile upon his lips. 

I could not restrain the impulse which prompted me to 
move towards him. My approach attracted his attention.. 
He looked at me, and was gone. I have never seen him 
since. 

The last words I heard him speak recur to me. 
There was in them the spirit of Divine justice. Crimes 
cannot be for ever successfully hidden. The monsters who 
commit them shall be brought to their doom by those whose 
duty it is to track them down, or by unseen mysterious 
agencies by which they are surrounded, or by their own con- 
fession. 

But let the legislators see to it ; let those who call them- 
selves philanthropists and humanitarians see to it ; let those 
whose fortune it is to possess great wealth see to it. There 
are in this modern Babylon fester-spots of corruption 
wherein nothing but sin and vice can possibly grow. They 
are crowded with human beings ripening for evil ; they are 
crowded with human souls lost to salvation. They are an 
infamy — and the infamy rests not upon the creatures who 
are born and bred there, but upon those who allow them to 
be, and who have the undoubted power to cleanse them, and 
make them healthy for body and soul. For generation upon 
generation have they been allowed to breed corruption ; to 
this day they are allowed to do so. All who have the 



DEVLIN THE BARBER, 191 

remedy in their hands are responsible. The preacher who 
preaches and does not practise ; the rich who can afford, 
but grudges to give ; the statesman with his dilettante efforts 
towards social improvement, and his huge efforts towards 
place and power — one and all of these are accountable for 
the sin. It is no less, and it rests upon them. 



THE END. 



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